A selection of the best international attractions brought together in the capital of dreams under a big top shining with a thousand stars, where emotion, dignity and respect of authenticity mix with joy and laughter.
Since its establishment in 1974 by Prince Rainier III of Monaco, the International Festival of Circus of Monte-Carlo has become one of the most prestigious world events.
As important as the “Oscars” for cinema, the “Golden Clown” is the much-coveted award of this Festival and the Circus world.
Organised and chaired with passion by H.S.H. Princess Stephanie of Monaco, broadcast across the entire world, the Festival presents each year a selection of the best international acts which attract a huge audience. For 10 days, a selection of spectacles comes to life under the Fontvieille Big Top with breath-taking performances. Acrobats, animal trainers, trapeze artists, clowns… So many artists who have brought fame to the Festival and who, year after year, continue to make young and old dream.
The International Festival of Monte-Carlo also presents prizes to the world’s greatest circus artists. Unquestionably the most prestigious award is the “Golden Clown,” true recognition in the world of circus arts. From Anatoly Zalevski to the National Acrobatic Troop of Beijing, via the Caselly Family and Alexis Grüss, great names of circus have been awarded this prize over the years.
When the festival started, only golden and silver clowns were awarded. In 1988 (during the 13th edition) Claude Lelouch’s feature film scenes were shot for “Itinéraire d'un enfant gâté” (Itinerary of a Spoilt Child), with the Gruss family before the cameras (sources: film credits and making-of).
In 2002, the number and quality of acts performing, led to the creation of bronze clowns. From 2008, special prizes were awarded and, in 2015, a new generation prize was instituted.
H.S.H. Princess Stephanie of Monaco is today the lynchpin of this event, established in 1974 by Prince Rainier III. In this regard, she is fully involved in both the design and organisation of the shows with the over-riding concern of respecting traditional circus, choosing the best international acts and bringing Her professionalism to bear on the mise-en-scène of the Festival.
Fascinated by the circus from Her earliest years, H.S.H. Princess Stephanie contributes to stimulating all circus arts throughout the year, so contributing to the establishment of the World Federation of Circus, whose headquarters are in the Principality of Monaco, and it is entirely logical that H.S.H. Princess Stephanie energetically fulfils the role of Chair of Honour.