Under the Big Top

Circus Arts Conservatory, Nik Wallenda Announce New Collaboration

The renowned circus artist and circus arts organization will co-produce holiday shows in the UTC area in the coming years.

By Staff September 21, 2023

Under the Circus Arts Conservatory big top.

Under the Circus Arts Conservatory big top.

Image: Cliff Roles

While the University Town Center/Nathan Benderson Park area is already home to sports, shopping and dining, there's currently no ongoing arts presence in the area. But that’s about to change: renowned circus performer Nik Wallenda and the Circus Arts Conservatory (CAC) have teamed up to co-produce holiday shows in the UTC area. The first will take place this year.

Wallenda and the CAC are already working on the first offering, an immersive holiday spectacle called "A Brave New Wonderland." The big top will be located east of the Mall at UTC, and the production promises to enchant audiences of all ages with a magical holiday experience. The show will run from Nov. 18, 2023, through December 31, 2023.

Nik Wallenda tightrope-walks over downtown Sarasota in 2013.

Nik Wallenda tightrope-walks over downtown Sarasota in 2013.

Wallenda, who's renowned for his high-wire performances, is a a current producer and partner of the Big Apple Circus in New York City. The production has been a beloved holiday tradition for New Yorkers for 45 years, captivating millions with its performances.

"I've always dreamed of sharing the magic of my New York City productions with my beloved hometown—and revered circus community—of Sarasota,” Wallenda says. “With 'A Brave New Wonderland,' I'm thrilled to collaborate with the Circus Arts Conservatory to bring this dream to life and create unforgettable holiday memories for the community that means so much to me."

"A Brave New Wonderland" will feature a blend of circus acts, aerial performances, and holiday storytelling, all curated by Wallenda, who will not only be producing and directing the show, but also headlining. 

“When Nik came to us with his idea for a holiday show, we were thrilled at the concept and got to work right away to help bring the idea to life,” said CAC executive vice president and chief operating officer Jennifer Mitchell. “Our mission is to advance the extraordinary legacy and heritage of the circus, and Nik Wallenda holds a prominent place in circus history. It’s entirely appropriate for us to come together for a show that will delight and inspire residents and visitors.”

We'll keep you updated with announcements regarding showtimes, ticket availability and special features. For more about Nik Wallenda, visit nikwallenda.com; for more about the CAC, visit circusarts.org.

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