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19 May 2022

Derartu Tulu: The Unbelievable True Story

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Derartu Tulu: The Unbelievable True Story

The mind-blowing Circus Abyssinia returns to the UK with their breath-taking new show ‘Tulu’ that is inspired by the Ethiopian Olympic legend, Derartu Tulu.

Derartu Tulu is considered amongst many to be the pioneer of the current domination of female African runners. She broke records and has gone down in history as the first Black African woman to ever win gold at the Olympics.

Yet, growing up, Tulu was not even aware that she was an especially fast runner, let alone of the fact she might go on to become a world champion. She grew up in the highlands of Ethiopia, a member of the Orano Tribe, tending to cattle and living to run. Derartu Tulu spent her childhood running alone: up and down steep valleys and over dusty plains where hyenas prowled. All the while, unaware of her extraordinary talent.

Tulu’s career blew up in one of the most thrilling, heart-racing 10,000-metre races of all time at the Barcelona Olympics 1992, when the athlete overtook South Africa’s Elana Meyer in the final lap, winning by 30 metres.

Circus Abyssinia have harnessed the unbelievable truth of this story as they celebrate young Tulu’s ferocious skill and tenacity that were, and arguably still are, unmatched in speed and guile.

Derartu Tulu herself commented on the show, explaining: ‘I’m excited and so flattered that Circus Abyssinia has chosen to tell my story’, ‘I’m very intrigued by the circus arts, which are quite new to Ethiopia, and how they might express and connect with my passion for my sport’.

Bichu Shimellis, Director of the show, added: ‘It’s very important to us to share Derartu’s story. ‘Tulu’ is inspired by a true Olympic icon and pays tribute to some of the extraordinary women who have helped shape Ethiopian history. Right now, women in Ethiopia are winning the long fight for equality, and their stories – sadly often ignored by history - need to be known. Derartu is one of the greatest unsung heroines of modern Ethiopia and we are thrilled to invite audiences of the UK to share and celebrate her life and achievements with us.’

 

Circus Abyssinia opens on 24th May at Underbelly Festival Earls Court and runs until 18th June. Follow the link below for tickets.

https://www.underbellyfestival.com/events-display/circus-abyssinia-tulu

 

 

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