The Ghostly Circus: Dante’s Inferno

Philadelphia, PA


Where can you find fire performers, tight rope walkers, jugglers, aerial artists on ropes, chains, hoops and cubes, fire fans, fire staffs, break dancers and buugeng wrapped into a play on Dante’s Inferno amongst a set of tombstones and mausoleums? At 7 Texture’s “The Ghostly Circus,” hosted by Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia, PA!

Now in its fifth year, this theatrical performance in the style of Cirque du Soleil is filled with fantastical costumes, incredible performers, literature and wit. This year, audiences in the hundreds watched Dante embark on his epic journey through the 9 circles of hell over two nights in August. There, Dante followed a surly Virgil through a dance party in purgatory (imagine the same techno beat on loop for all of eternity), past lady luck, Cerberus the three-headed dog, and much more.

Virgil, the play’s MC, opened each night with these impactful words: “All of this is impressive - because it’s dangerous,” reminding viewers not to try this at home.  

In addition to those impressive feats by the many talented actors, a tasty array of musical choices from Sigur Ros to Black Sabbath, pop, techno, metal and live cello accompanied each act, creating a different flavor for every performance that carried the total package. This was the first year the Ghostly Circus, employed a play format to tie the variety show all together. The result was fluid, engaging, inspiring and fun! 

Opening night on August 10th was well attended by a diverse crowd of over 800 who enjoyed the ghoulish theatre from blankets and lawn chairs perched between gravesites. Food and beverages, including beer and wine, were available throughout the evening. What’s more? This unique, family friendly event doubles as a fundraiser for the historic Laurel Hill Cemetery, a pristinely kept public park overlooking the Schuykill River.

The show is produced and directed by Lauren Raske, co-founder of the design and event company 7 Textures.

Right now, the show is only in Philadelphia and typically takes place in August, so mark your calendar for next year if you’re in the area or planning a trip. And look out for The Ghost Circus making its way to a city near you!