COATED: 1944 Hartford Circus Fire Project (excerpt)

COATED: 1944 Hartford Circus Fire Project
Excerpt followed by panel discussion

Tuesday, July 9, 5:30-7:30pm
Atrium (ground floor), Hartford Public Library
500 Main Street, Hartford

Open Ring Circus will present a public excerpt of their new contemporary circus show inspired by the 1944 Hartford Circus Fire followed by a panel discussion with survivors and prominent community members including former Hartford fire chief Charles A. Teale Sr. and co-author of “A Matter of Degree,” Don Massey.

Open Ring Circus is a collective of young contemporary circus artists led by Connecticut born artist Jack Kavanagh. In honor of the fire’s 75th anniversary, Open Ring created a 90 min show which combines circus acrobatics, theater, dance and original sound design. With support from the Connecticut Arts Council, the collective has focused the past 9 months on researching the event and creating a show that holds space for the fire that echoes throughout Hartford’s history. This winter, the collective spent time exploring archives of the 1944 fire at the Hartford History Center and the Connecticut Historical Society. They also interviewed survivors and community members deeply affected by the fire. This research has helped them navigate this tragic event and pay respect to this disaster that heavily affected the Hartford and American circus communities. “Coated” weaves an immersive story which memorializes the past and prompts discussion of the future. From the classic traveling tent shows to the ripple effect of the event’s historical legacy, Open Ring invites you into a story made of sawdust, paraffin wax, smoke and stampedes. It illuminates fragility and the potential of risk that permeates everyday existence.

The full length show will be premiering in Hartford for one night only, on Friday July 12, 8pm at the Charter Oak Cultural Center. For tickets and more information visit