About Us

This May Day Bank Holiday weekend the Festival of Fools brings a jam-packed programme of circus performances, featuring breathtaking acrobatics, gut-busting comedy and jaw-dropping juggling.

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The festival is the largest comedy and street theatre festival on the island of Ireland, with more than 100 performances due to take place on the streets of Belfast City Centre and Cathedral Quarter.

All shows are free to attend, and no booking is required.

Established in 2004, Festival of Fools has put Belfast firmly on the world map as a capital of street theatre and circus excellence.

The festival is the brainchild of the late Belfast Community Circus School director Will Chamberlain, who believed passionately in the power of street theatre and laughter to bring people together regardless of background, religion or language. He established Festival of Fools in Cathedral Quarter in Belfast at a time when the area was a far cry from the bustling cultural centre it is today, leading the way in the regeneration of the north inner city.

Nowadays the Festival is a firm fixture on the cultural calendar for Cathedral Quarter, bringing 40,000 visitors to the area who spend an estimated £1.2m in local businesses. Festival of Fools attracts a range of funders and sponsors including the Arts Council for Northern Ireland, Translink, Belfast City Council, Tourism Northern Ireland, and the Ramada Encore Hotel.

The 2018 Festival will also present performances from the Mysteries and Drolls project, a three-year partnership venture funded by the EU Creative Europe programme with partners in Poland, Spain, Italy and Germany.

Festival of Fools Management and Staff

Management Committee

Chair: Alison Anderson
Directors: Graham Erskine | Edward Adams | Patrick Anderson | Julie Daly | Peter Doran


Chief Executive: Jenna Hall
Director of Youth Circus: Paul Quate
Festival Producer: Georgia Simpson
Festival Finance: Keith Hamilton

Northern Ireland Charity Number NI058177 | UK registered charity number XR98177

Festival of Fools Privacy Notice 2019

Our Supporters

Festival of Fools is made possibly thanks to the support of our sponsors, funders and partners…