Seven extraordinary acrobats but only one winner. Who will be the “New Face of Circus”?

This live stage production combines the thrill and risk-taking of contemporary circus with irreverent humour.

The audience chooses who wins as seven contestants embark on an exhilarating ride through the highs and lows of a competition that satirically skewers our concepts of equality and merit in a culture where the winner really does take all.

Through audience interactivity and a playful, comedic approach, the show unpacks the complex and often hard to talk about issues around how we relate to one another.

Showdown opened in February 2024 for its first run at the Chamäleon Theater in Berlin. UK and further international dates will be in 2025.

If you’re a venue, festival or promoter, we welcome you to join us on this journey. To show your interest in working on this project with us, email

A circus artist is lifted into the air by 6 other acrobats


“A merciless competition… totally over the top and funny” RBB Kultur

“A talent show satire that cleverly plays with the mechanisms of the format. With a beautiful message, but without indoctrination” Berliner Morgenpost

“I loved it. The highly skilled acrobats perform jaw dropping acts and collectively use the format of the story to convey their lived experiences of being “diverse”. I have seen other shows there in the past but this one was my favourite. If I could give more than 5 stars…I would.” Audience Memeber

Watch the trailer:


Showdown is linked to our other project Common Ground, led by Upswing’s Artistic Director Vicki Dela Amedume, in collaboration with comedian Athena Kugblenu and musician Afrikan Boy.

Five Global Majority performers stand next to each other in a sports competition-style photo for the Showdown Movie poster

Over the last two years, Upswing has been working with a range of Global Majority artists to flesh out issues and themes and work out how to use the playful provocation of humour alongside circus movement to address them.

Ahead of the live show, we released an award-winning short film which confront the difficulties we have talking about race and culture in a satire of the casting and rehearsal process.

The videos below give a behind-the-scenes look at how both the show and film have developed over the past two years:


Co-Produced with Chamäleon Theatre Berlin. Supported by: The Lowry, the Albany Deptford, Arts Council England, PRS Foundation’s The Open Fund, Cockayne Foundation, The London Community Fund, Horizon: Performance Created in England

Photos by Andy Phillipson

PRS Foundation Logo
Horizon: Performance Created in England Logo
The London Community Foundation Logo
Arts Council England Logo


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