With its child-friendly blend of humor, thrills and spectacle, Circus Flora was made for the holidays. So it’s not surprising that the St. Louis institution known for pitching its tent near Powell Hall is once again taking its magic indoors — to the accompaniment of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.
“A Child’s Christmas in Wales” promises to generate the kind of warm glow that Powell Hall — a space mainly associated with the classical music canon — can accommodate as comfortably as the acrobats, aerialists and other circus performers. A glow in keeping with the spirit of the season.
“Hopefully, it’ll be as warm as ‘The Nutcracker,’” says Ivor David Balding, artistic director and producer of Circus Flora.
The show is inspired by a Dylan Thomas poem — a romantic ode to Christmas rendered from a child’s point of view. The poem has its roots in a piece that Thomas recited on the radio in the 1940s.
“The poem is all about a memory of a Christmas and is a very wonderful reflection on families,” Balding says. “It’s very funny, too.”
Among the performers will be a couple of acts that have become St. Louis favorites: The Flying Wallendas and the St. Louis Arches.
Part of the Live at Powell Hall series, “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” is designed to build on a previous collaboration between the circus and the symphony, “The Floating Palace.” Presented in January 2011 in celebration of Circus Flora’s 25th anniversary, that production — named for a Mississippi riverboat of the 1850s and featuring a story involving pirates, spies and romance — was a success with audiences, says Fred Bronstein, president and CEO of the SLSO.
The new show, he says, will feature “music that is mostly holiday-related. It will be very, very familiar to people — ‘Deck the Halls’ and things like that.”
As with “The Floating Palace,” Circus Flora took into consideration the difference between working beneath the Big Top and inside the concert hall in putting together “A Child’s Christmas in Wales.”
“Because the building is old, and very much a historic site, we had to be very careful with the rigging,” says Balding. “But with the help of everyone at Powell Hall, including the union stagehands, we were able to solve all our problems. It’ll be much easier this year.”
What “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” • When 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday • Where Powell Hall, 718 North Grand Boulevard • How much $16.50-$80 • More info 314-534-1700; stlsymphony.org