Commissioned by famed Italian composer Gian Carlo Menotti for the Spoleto Festival in 1986, Circus Flora immediately set about creating productions unlike most Americans had seen before – productions that melded the best elements of traditional European circus with modern theater techniques and sensibilities. From the very beginning, every Circus Flora production has been an original performance, its storyline often rooted in history or literature. Through the narrative, individual acts are woven into a cohesive story, further developed and enhanced by live music composed specifically for the productions. With its 30th anniversary around the corner, Circus Flora has become part of the cultural fabric of St. Louis—an anticipated event and harbinger of summer in the city.
Owing to its leading role in revitalizing circus as a professional performing art, Circus Flora has garnered national and international recognition, receiving many special performance invitations over its nearly three-decade history. In 1997, Circus Flora’s big top tent was the first ever to be erected at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.; and in 2002, the tent was raised at The Lincoln Center Festival in New York City. Additionally, the Circus has made an unprecedented six appearances at the prestigious Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, South Carolina, and five appearances on the Island of Nantucket.
Circus Flora showcases world-class talent by both new artists and venerable talent. Their performances represent the continuation and evolution of circus arts and ensure its future for generations to come.