Circus Roncalli

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Circus Roncalli
FounderBernhard Paul and André Heller
Circus Roncalli (2005)
Winter quarters in Mülheim, Cologne (2009)
Circus Roncalli being transported by rail.

Circus Roncalli is a German circus founded in 1976 by Bernhard Paul and André Heller. According to Bernhard Paul, the name was inspired by a film script of his fellow Austrian Peter Hajek, "Sarah Roncalli, Tochter des Mondes" ("Sarah Roncalli, daughter of the moon", sometimes also cited as "widow of the moon").[1] The reminiscence to the popular Pope John XXIII (1881–1963), whose legal name was Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, served as a key to the success.[1]


The first performance of the circus was on 18 May 1976 on the Hofgartenwiese in Bonn, and the tour finished on 16 August 1976 in Munich. After the first season, Paul and Heller disagreed about the concept and rights, so that at a future performance on 4 June 1980 in Cologne, Bernhard Paul directed the circus on his own. (In September 1976 there were already performances without Heller in Vienna, but the show closed after a short run owing to a dwindling audience.) Since then, the circus has toured in Germany and abroad, including the first appearance of a West German circus in the Soviet Union in 1986. Model-turned-photographer Ellen von Unwerth worked as an assistant at Circus Roncalli in Munich for around a month when she was eighteen years old.[2][3]

Winter quarters[edit]

The winter quarters of the circus have been at Neurather Weg 7 in Mülheim, Cologne since 1984. The building belonged to Circus Williams beforehand, and was rebuilt to accommodate Circus Roncalli, following which it was officially opened on 27 April 1986.

Roncalli Museum[edit]

Bernhard Paul owns one of the largest circus collections in Europe, including old costumes, circus books and posters, which he plans to display in a museum.


Circus Roncalli has taken part in a number of projects:

  • The "Höhner rockin Roncalli Show" – Tours with the musical group De Höhner.
  • "Circus meets Classic" – Performances by artists based on classical music performed by various symphony orchestras.
  • Performances with the musical group the Kelly Family in 2003 and 2004 (Phantasie verboten), and in 2005 and 2006 ("Music meets Circus – Circus meets Music").
  • A Christmas circus (Roncalli Weihnachtscircus), which has been held in the Tempodrom in Berlin from December to January since 2004
  • The dinner show "Witzigmann & Roncalli Bajazzo", together with Eckart Witzigmann since autumn 2006
  • Historical Christmas market in front of the Hamburg Rathaus.


Bernhard Paul prefers railway transport, which is becoming more difficult because some of the loading facilities of the Deutsche Bahn are no longer in use.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Ziegler, Mathias (2009). "Bernhard Paul: Traum vom Zirkus" (PDF). Wiener Journal (in German) (38): 14–17. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
  2. ^ von Unwerth, Ellen. "Ellen von Unwerth - In Fashion - SHOWstudio Interview". Retrieved 2015-10-06.
  3. ^ "FASHION/PHOTOGRAPHY: ELLEN VON UNWERTH". 2015-07-11. Retrieved 2015-10-06.

External links[edit]