Now under construction in the Jimei District of Xiamen, in southeastern China, this new 10,000 seat arena, claimed to be the largest permanent circus forum in the world, will be ready to entertain at the 17th annual China International Fair & Trade show, in September. Ground was broken only last September. Things happen fast in the Middle Kingdom.
Sawdust aficionados of means and manners may wish to book air travel and hotel space soon.
To be known as Xiamen Ling Ling International Circus, the seaside hard top will supersede in size the Chimelong International Circus in Guangzhou, which itself handles 7.000 spectators.
International is the operative word: A news release promises that "professional circus performers from 26 countries will stage magic shows, circus acts and acrobatic shows."
The Chinese are not only taking gloriously to the air to create inventive new flying acts, thus expanding their staid repertory of ground-bound acts that marked their stage shows for centuries, they are also apparently encouraging the importation of performing animals into their larger programs.
While, historically, the famed acrobatic troupes of China have never followed the example of American three-ring showmanship, in recent years they have ingeniously adapted Cirque du Soleil modes of advanced presentation. Thus are they breaking free of time-worn performance traditions to fashion their own exciting new productions, more creatively designed, paced, and directed. For the full-course meal, tanbark tourists are encouraged to include Beijing and Shanghai in their Chinese portfolios.
Perhaps this new arena will serve as a refuge for a number of displaced ex-Cirque du Soleil artsts, out of work in the wake of Cirque's shutting down a parade of failed ventures around the world.
Look for international festivals in Xiamen. And expect, increasingly a more diversified spread of sawdust action from the redoubtable Chinese. No longer just hoops, spinning plates, hat juggling exchanges, and pole climbing.
Good news for the future of circus everywhere!