Circus arts performers and fans gathered last Sunday at the Funicular Railway Station in Germantown.
Nine members of Charm City Movement Arts, a circus school based in Baltimore, presented “Cultivate,” a story about a time traveling circus, as part of the annual Fringe Festival.
The show had a fusion of performances by a tightrope walker, aerialists, jugglers and an illusionist. The performers took the audience, both young and old, from the past and into the future. The story began in late ‘70s and ‘80s and journeyed from the past to 71 years in the future and back, following a traveling circus that hosted auditions in hopes to find the next best performer.
Time travel, however, was not the original theme for this Fringe performance.
“We originally performed this show in Baltimore,” said Erica Saben, founder and director of CCMA. “But members of our casts had personal conflicts, so we had to put this together in a week. I just thought of time travel.”
Saben is also a member of The Give and Take Jugglers, a partner of the Funicular, which helped her to have her group perform in the circus-friendly space in Germantown.
The building in which the Funicular Railway Station rests was originally built in 1913. Two years ago, the space became a vessel for circus artists.
“We had another studio that we shared with our colleague, Greg Kennedy,” owner of the Funicular, Dave Gillies said, “but we needed more space.”
Gillies lives just a few blocks from the circus space, in Germantown.
The Funicular is now mainly open to the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts to train, but its arms are opened to others involved in circus arts.“Funicular means operated by ropes and that is what we do,” Gillies said. “We perform all kinds of circus acts with ropes.”