Circus Abyssinia to showcase the life of Olympic Legend Derartu Tulu thanks to UK Government’s Culture Recovery Fund

10 May 2021

Circus Abyssinia was among the recipients of funding from the UK Government’s Culture Recovery Fund that aims to help cultural organisations recover from the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This much-needed funding will allow Circus Abyssinia to continue promoting Ethiopian culture, music, costumes, and stand-out circus skills across the UK. The funding will also be used towards the launch of their new show, ‘Tulu’, in the UK this summer, and create safe and accessible environments for their artists and audiences.

Circus Abyssinia: Tulu celebrates Ethiopian icon and Olympic legend, Derartu Tulu, who is Africa’s first female Olympic gold medallist. Circus Abyssinia hopes to bring her story to life through all elements of the show, from the choreography to the costumes, which invoke myths and figures from Ethiopian history, interweaving Tulu’s Olympic triumph with tales from Ethiopia’s long record of strong female leaders and warriors.

For this production, Circus Abyssinia will work with some incredibly talented Ethiopian artists (based in both Ethiopia and the UK), and because of the Culture Recovery Fund, they will also be able to accompany some of their performances with community outreach activities, where they will engage with young people across the UK by holding workshops and masterclasses in Ethiopian circus and music. After certain performances, they will also invite audiences to share in some Ethiopian traditions, such as coffee ceremonies.

Speaking exclusively to the Embassy, Bichu Shimellis, director of the show and co-founder of Circus Abyssinia, said: ”We are beyond thrilled and so grateful to have been awarded this grant from the Culture Recovery Fund. It’s a lifeline to us at this difficult time and will enable us to share the thrilling story of ‘Tulu’ and the richness of Ethiopian culture with UK audiences this summer.’

Circus Abyssinia: Tulu will debut at the Brighton Fringe, England’s largest arts festival, with performances from 21st  June until 4 July. For further information, visit

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