Following more than 30 years of dedication to the circus field, People’s Artist Tong Toan Thang admitted that single performances are no longer enough to attract modern audiences. He added that audiences want to enjoy performances with good contents and climactic and attractive details, so the artists should also make programmes that can express both skilful circus techniques and the sequence of performances to convey meaningful messages. This was why the Vietnam Circus Federation has been focused on staging many thematic circus plays with new experiments including ‘Nang Tien Ca’ (The Little Mermaid), ‘Xu so Ai Cap’ (The Land of Egypt), ‘Cuop bien” (The Pirates), ‘The gioi hoat hinh trong khu rung than tien” (The Cartoon World in the Fairy Forest), ‘Cuoc phieu luu cua chu Teu’ (The adventure of Uncle Teu) and ‘Phu thuy dai chien’ (The Wizard of War).

Specifically, the circus works recently staged by the federation, such as ‘Hanoi cua nhung giac mo’ (Hanoi of Dreams), ‘Ky uc trong toi’ (My Memories), ‘Di cung nam thang’ (Going through years) and ‘Nhung canh hong bay’ (Flying Roses), have contributed to affirming the circus is not only an art form with high entertainment value but can also convey propaganda and educational messages with deep humanistic meanings. Clever movements of circus such as juggling, balancing, swinging and acrobatics, in combination with creative ideals in staging and dancing languages and music, have brought surprises and excitement to audiences of all ages.

Taking on the role of scripting and staging most of the current plays of the Vietnam Circus Federation, People’s Artist Tong Toan Thang affirmed that circus is an art form that can be combined with many other artistic languages to enrich their capacity for expression. This is also a ‘key’ for art makers to expand their creativity for circus as well as other art forms, thereby attracting diverse audiences. With the goal of turning the circus into an art performing centre, a series of experimental projects with this combination form have been planned by the federation. Recently, the Vietnam Circus Federation has worked with Vietnam Cai Luong (reformed opera) Theatre to successfully stage the play ‘Cay gay than’ (The Magic Stick). The two units then cooperated with each other to develop the remaining works under the project on “Huyen Su Viet’, featuring the four immortals of Vietnamese folklore.

In the context that all theatrical activities were almost frozen due to COVID-19 pandemic, like other art units, the Vietnam Circus Federation has been forced to suspend its performances, so it had no revenue. However, the artists have been still working hard to prepare attractive ‘spiritual food’ to serve audiences right after the epidemic is controlled. The federation and the Vietnam Cai Luong Theatre is completing the play “Thuong thien Thanh Mau’ (The Holy Mother) with a special combination of circus and Cai Luong. The circus programme entitled ‘Biet doi anh hung’ (Hero Squad) for children was intended to be introduced on the occasion of the World Children Festival but it was suspended due to the epidemic. Therefore, it is expected to be performed on the occasion of Mid Autumn. In addition, a show of circus combined with rock will be released on the occasion of Vietnam Women’s Day (October 20), aiming to attract young audiences.