In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, artists, promoters and people associated with culture have been put in a difficult position. We have been forced to stop the very advanced progress on the 11th Carnaval Sztukmistrzów, as the festival in its current format of a large street event, featuring many foreign artists, wouldn’t have been safe for the audience. The epidemic restrictions have prevented us from keeping the planned date and form of the festival.

As the creators and organisers of the largest new circus festival in Poland we have focused on what has been one of the main objectives of the festival since its inception, that is actively supporting Polish artists involved in the contemporary circus. Thus, this year’s edition of Carnaval Sztukmistrzów will take the form of a showcase of Polish contemporary circus productions on a scale that has never been seen before.

We want to invite you to the 11th edition of Carnaval Sztukmistrzów, as unique as the entire year 2020, in which the focus will be on premieres of Polish circus shows. The festival with the name “The Polish Incident” will take place between 17-20 September on several outdoor stages.

The name refers to the sudden and unexpected situation, in which we have found ourselves as the organisers of an international festival, but it’s also a symbolic beginning of the search for the so-called character of Polish circus scene. We believe that the single and sudden incident will transform into the first ever in Poland, regular forum for presenting contemporary Polish circus shows. We are convinced that it will also lead to the dynamic development of this field of performative arts in Poland and thanks to the cooperation, among others, with the international platform CircusNext, to gain broader international publicity.

Therefore, we hope that this year of crisis is also an opportunity, that it will become a year of
intensive development of the industry and will result in many excellent shows that in future seasons will spread in Poland and the world.

The programme of Carnaval Sztukmistrzów – The Polish Incident includes outdoor shows and acts of varying scale – from one-person busker-like performances to huge theatrical productions. Among them are two productions of the winners of the contest for an outdoor circus show which we held at the start of the year and 5 contest submissions with the highest score and three submitted outside the contest.  There are currently 10 shows in production, and we will see them twice in September. Lublin’s audiences will watch them live between 17-20 September. The presentations will be followed by talks and meetings with the artists. From September 21, we will present the recorded performances as an online festival. We will be able to watch one show every day.

“The Polish Incident” is also a unique opportunity for the Polish circus artists to meet and integrate as we work with artists from various parts of Poland: Szczecin, Wrocław, Warsaw, Olsztyn, Lublin.  During the festival, we want to present the artists taking part in the festival with the possibilities of further development and breaking through to international stages.

An opportunity to do will be an information meeting dedicated to one of the most prestigious international contests addressed to creators and artists of contemporary circus – CircusNext, represented in Poland by Workshops of Culture. Polish artists will find out what the process of selection and evaluation of submissions looks like and how are the shows produced within the CircusNext programme.

Show premieres are the principal element of this year’s festival, but we are not forgetting the ludic character of the festival and busker performances, which Carnaval’s regular visitors know well and look forward to every year.  Unfortunately, we will not meet buskers at street performances, but we will watch them during Backyard Circus shows. This time, Backyard Circus, that has been initiating the approaching festival in various districts of Lublin for the past several years, will not follow the itinerant format, but will take place four times in one place.

Another integral part of Carnaval Sztukmistrzów is Urban Highline Festival which because of the pandemic will be a little limited this year. You will also be able to admire highliners at a unique photo exhibition presented in Vivo! Shopping Centre – the festival’s partner.

The spaces in which we will hold the performances of this year’s edition of Carnaval Sztukmistrzów are semi-open and must meet specific requirements because of sanitary restrictions. Those will be the courtyard of the Lublin castle, patio of Workshops of Culture in Lublin, the courtyard in the building of the Marcia Curie-Skłodowska University’s Faculty of Pedagogy, Perła Brewery stage.

More information about ticket prices and purchases will be published soon on the festival’s website at

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