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Motherhood circus soars onto Vernon stage

Berlin-based Cirque group performs Raven
Berlin-based Cirque performance Raven takes the Vernon Performing Arts Centre stage May 3. (Andy Phillipson photo)

The circus that is motherhood, with all its warmth and humour, takes the stage in Cirque form.

Raven, a powerful and refreshingly original piece, is performed at the Vernon & District Performing Arts Centre (VDPAC) Wednesday, May 3, at 7:30 p.m.

Charmingly honest and highly entertaining, Raven confronts the meaning of Rabenmutter (raven mother), a derogatory German term for working moms which has been synonymous with selfish or “bad” moms.

RAVEN by still hungry // Trailer (Official Version Chamäleon Berlin) from Chamäleon Berlin on Vimeo.

Based on their own experiences as both circus-workers and mothers, the performers of the Berlin-based circus collective called still hungry consciously challenge this term, revealing the uncomfortable and darkly funny sides of their own motherhood. Climbing out of their comfortable nest, they adventurously go on unconventional “flights” — with or without regrets, but loud and visible.

Thanks to creative support from the renowned British director Bryony Kimmings, they stage a striking, authentic world filled with stunning acrobatics, beautiful imagery and honest humour.

“Raven is a spectacular combination of cirque acrobatics and heartfelt theatre,” said VDPAC’s artistic director Erin Kennedy. “These supremely talented artists – and moms – lay bare the realities of motherhood, from the hilarious to the dreadful, all while performing superhuman acrobatics.”

Bird metaphors lie at the centre of Raven and illustrate the different challenges motherhood presents. One moment, the performers lovingly mother their children like hens and the rhythms of their daily movements turn into skilful satirical choreographies. In the next moment, the memories of their own strength as successful circus artists turn them into eagles, soaring strong and free through the air. As fearless circus moms, the performers bring a moving show to the stage, which challenges the status quo and invite us to question our preconceived notions of working mothers, women, and circus performers.

The three artists and mothers Romy Seibt, Anke van Engelshoven and Lena Ries of still hungry reunited after long years of friendship to create a piece of innovative circus. Powerful images and a good sense of humour make their work truly touching and highly amusing. Their work is fresh, feminist, strong, and unafraid to tackle even intensely personal subjects that don’t lend themselves easily to circus, a genre that is still primarily associated with entertainment.

Raven has taken the still hungry around the world, earning rave reviews and numerous accolades including the Scotsman Fringe First Award (2019), the ThreeWeeks Edinburgh Award (2019), and the Total Theatre Award for Circus (2019). Broadway Baby gave the production four stars, calling it “an excellent hour of circus, physical theatre, and dance digging into what the performers gave up, and what they refuse to let go of.”

Produced by Chamäleon Berlin, Raven comes to Vernon as part of a five-province tour throughout April and May 2023. The Canada tour of Raven has been funded by the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe.

The show is 55 minutes long with no intermission. Tickets are $45 for adults, $42 for seniors, and $40 for students. Special discounts are available for seats in the first two rows of the theatre. For tickets, call Ticket Seller at 250-549-SHOW (7469) or visit our 2022-23 SPOTLIGHT Season online at

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Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

Vernon has always been my home, and I've been working at The Morning Star since 2004.
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