Ringling International Arts Festival Offers An Eclectic Line-Up

Priority tickets for prime seating are on sale now.

By Kay Kipling July 6, 2016

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eighth blackbird


It may still be summer, but it’s not too early to make plans for the Ringling International Arts Festival, taking place Oct. 13-16.

After last year’s all-Asian theme, in honor of the new Asian art center at The Ringling, this year’s fest returns to presenting a mix of international culture and performers, with shows taking place at the Mertz Theatre, Historic Asolo Theater, Circus Museum, and even at the Ringling mansion, Ca’d’Zan. Here’s what you can expect to see and hear.

Opening night, Oct. 13, patrons have their pick of three performances. Doug Elkins Choreography, etc. (here in 2011 with the popular takeoff of The Sound of Music, Fraulein Maria) returns with two expressions of flirtation, romance, jealousy and betrayal: the comic Hapless Bizarre and Mo(or)town/Redux, a retelling of Othello set to a Motown score. Other choices for the 7 p.m. opening shows: Chicago-based Grammy-winning ensemble eighth blackbird, with a concert of new music from living composers titled Hand Eye, and Australian circus performers Gravity & Other Myths, presenting A Simple Space, amazing feats of acrobatic ability and physicality, in the Circus Museum.

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A Simple Space. Photo by Andy Phillipson


All three shows will also be presented on other dates during the festival weekend as well.

Also on tap, director/actor Thaddeus Philips takes a journey across 17 international borders in a surreal examination titled 17 Border Crossings, created by theater company Lucidity Suitcase International with Mapa Teatro/Bogota. New Zealand’s comic master Thomas Monckton joins forces with Finland’s Circo Aereo in The Pianist, a spectacularly catastrophic concert of mishaps centered around a grand piano.

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The Pianist. Photo by Juho Rahijarvi


LMnO3: Lohse, Marquis & Oakley features a trio of choreographer-performers who celebrate the power of female relationships in B.A.N.G.S.: Made in America (Beauty, Age, Number, Goodness and Size are the words those initials represent). Contains mature content, language and nudity.

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Doug Elkins Choreography etc


And finally, acclaimed Israeli cellist Matt Haimovitz performs The Bach Suites: A Moveable Feast—three different programs in three venues, the Court of Ca’d’zan, The Huntington Gallery of the Museum of Art, and the Historic Asolo Theater. He’ll perform works by Philip Glass and Vijay Iyer, among others.

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LMnO3 performing B.A.N.G.S.: Made in America. Photo by Justin Skrakowski


Priority ticketing for prime seating at RIAF is available now; you can purchase tickets for four to six productions or for all seven. To see what’s available, call (941) 360-7399 or go to

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