Surreal Sirkus Returns to Pack Square for October Performance - TribPapers

Surreal Sirkus Returns to Pack Square for October Performance

Surreal Sirkus 2022 Unifire Theater Daniel. Photo by Jennifer Bennett.

Asheville – The Surreal Sirkus, one of Asheville’s oldest performance art troupes, has joined forces with Arts 2 People to bring its unique blend of experimental theater, live music, and circus arts back to Asheville on Saturday, Oct. 28 with the return of its longstanding free, family-friendly arts festival at Pack Square Park, and a vision of making Asheville magic again.

Under the light of the full moon, the 13th Surreal Sirkus Arts Festival will take at the Roger McGuire Green and Reuter Terrace from 1 to 10 p.m. with live music, dj’s, performers, local vendors, art installations, beer, food, and spirits, culminating in a sunset performance by the Surreal Sirkus.

The Surreal Sirkus has deep roots in the history of the town’s artistic life and now hopes to bring back some of the creative magic that was a hallmark of Asheville’s underground arts scene in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

It was founded back in 1996 when a rag-tag group of artists and performers rented the park for a day-long event that was meant to generate interest in building a community arts center. That first event spawned a vibrant community that would spend the next decade creating elaborate stage productions and hosting an annual arts festival at Pack Square.

That all ended in 2005 when the Surreal Sirkus was laid to rest in a viking-style funeral procession (complete with a flaming boat set in the reflecting pond at the Vance Monument). And it would remain dormant until 2021 when the event and the troupe were resurrected for its 25th anniversary by Arts 2 People, the same organization that put on L.A.A.F.F. for 17 years.

What brought it back was a growing feeling that Asheville had lost some of its sparkle, that the forces of gentrification and boredom had begun to take over the town. It was time to Make Asheville Magic Again.

So as the Sirkus moves forward into this new phase of its after-life, the annual Halloween Festival has once again become an important annual tradition, and they have expanded into new territory with events such as SurReal Estate, an interactive tour and on-site performance at a mysterious mansion last summer.

The Surreal Sirkus is raising funds right now with a limited run t-shirt, which can be found at And be sure to make it to the 13th Surreal Sirkus Arts Festival on Saturday, Oct. 28 at Pack Square Park.