International Circus Festival of Monte-Carlo
During the Festival, a selection of some of the best circus acts in the business are presented twice to a paying audience and a Jury of circus professionals, journalists, and specialists—presided until 2005 by the late Prince Rainier III, and since 2006, by his daughter, S.A.S. Princess Stéphanie of Monaco. The Jury awards Gold and Silver , and, since 2002 a Bronze , in the form of statuettes sculpted by Paule Malé. Other prizes and trophies are awarded by the City of Monaco, and various corporations, press organizations, associations, and individuals. The Festival presents about 25 acts each year, in two different sets of performances. The awards are presented during a closing Gala performance attended by the Prince of Monaco, and his family and guests. Traditionally, the Prince also attends every selection performance. The first Gold , which in time became the equivalent of an Oscar® to the circus world, were awarded to Alfred Court, in tribute to his exceptional career, and to Charlie Rivel. (See Gold, Silver, and Bronze list.)
In 1975, the Festival was presented under the of the Italian circus, Nando, Liana e Rinaldo Orfei, and from 1975 to 1994, under the of another Italian Circus, Circo Americano-Togni. Since 1995, it has been held under a large, sedentary circus structure, permanently installed in what is now the Quartier Fontvielle, in Monaco.
In 2006, the Festival staged an extraordinary tribute to Prince Rainier III of Monaco (who had passed away the previous year), with a five-hour show that gathered the greatest assemblage of Gold and Silver Medalists ever seen (some of them performing at the same time, like the amazing juggling duet formed by Kris Kremo and Anthony Gatto, or Oleg Izossimov sharing the ring with The Rodions and Wei Baohua & Wu Zheng). It was probably the greatest circus performance ever produced.
The International Circus Festival of Monte-Carlo is now held each year in mid-January. Presided by S.A.S. Princess Stéphanie of Monaco, it remains today, without a doubt, the most important circus manifestation in the world, and it has become the annual rendezvous of the international circus community and of a large international audience of circus enthusiasts.
- Pierre Paret, Monte-Carlo ou la Renaissance du Cirque (Sorvilier, Editions de la Gardine, 1985) ISBN 2-88200-001-4
- Charles W. Scott, Le Cirque (Rennes, Editions Ouest-France, 1995) ISBN 2-7373-1872-6