Best circuses on tour in the UK right now
- Sofia Matias
- 10 July 2018
Celebrate the 250th anniversary of the modern circus with one of these touring companies
As much as film audiences seem to have fallen in love with the circus all over again with the release of the musical The Greatest Showman – a semi-biographical account of P.T. Barnum's creation of the Barnum & Bailey Circus – the truth is that the modern circus is actually credited to another figure, Philip Astley, well before Barnum was born (sorry, Hugh Jackman). 2018 marks the 250th anniversary since Astley first created the circus ring, way back in 1768, and some touring companies are marking the occasion with events all over the UK this summer.
All events are at various venues unless stated.
Touring with a brand new show, Circus Funtasia is bringing renewed thrills to Exmouth. An updated soundtrack and state of the art lighting set the mood for the death-defying motorbike globe-riders, multi-tasking aerialists, hilarious comedy numbers and much more. For the movie lovers, there is even a Harley Quinn performing a juggling act on a Segway.
Circus Funtasia, Imperial Recreation Ground (Exmouth), 11–15 Jul, £8-10.15 (5pm & 7.30pm, Sat-Sun 1pm & 4pm).
Currently in its fifth year, Cirque Berserk is celebrating the creation of the circus by bringing it up to speed with the modern day audience. Adapting its show to theatre venues, the classics of the ring will still be present: daredevil, juggling, acrobat and stunt acts are all scheduled to dazzle audiences.
Cirque Berserk, until 3 Oct.
Moscow State Circus
There is perhaps nothing better than the largest circus Big Top in the UK to celebrate an anniversary in style. The Moscow State Circus blends with the Golden Age of Hollywood to bring audiences a dazzling and nerve-tingling show for the entire family. Award winning Clowns the Chervotkins Duo guide you through the performance.
Gostinitsa, 12 Jul--21 Aug.
Acts from all over the world pack this 1.5 hour-long show. Combining circus, music and laughter, Circus Zyair is a magical circus experience for the entire family, with jugglers, acrobats, magic, high wire, the wheel of death and a whole bunch of colourful acts.
Circus Zyair, until 9 Sep.
With a show especially designed to celebrate the anniversary of the circus, Legacy, athletic equestrians, astonishing acrobats, hilarious clowns and brave daredevils take centre stage at Zippos Circus. Having begun the tour near the original site used by Astley, there will be plenty of other throwbacks through the history of the circus.
Legacy, until 13 Aug.
Milton Keynes will be home to Casus Circus' latest work, Driftwood, which combines choreography, acrobatics, trapeze and aerial stunts. A fresher interpretation of the circus act, with no animal or clown numbers, this Australian company is still filled with talent.
Driftwood, The Spiegeltent (Milton Keynes), 20–22 Jul, £14–74 (7pm, Sun 2.30pm).
The French take over Britain with a bigger and bolder version of the brass meets acrobatics fusion act that has sold out two tours. Balkan jazz is the unlikely soundtrack, but the familiar circus setting will make you feel right at home. Every stop of the tour has been unique, featuring collaborations with local artists, and Salford with see its exhilarating finale.
Now or Never, The Lowry (Salford), 30 Aug--1 Sep, £13–16 (7pm).
One of the biggest all-human touring circuses, Circus Vegas is finishing the UK leg of its 2018 tour in Ramsgate. Transporting you straight to the Las Vegas glitz and glamour, this show is designed to bring audiences the best elements of entertainment from across the pond, blended with death-defying acts.
Circus Vegas, Government Acre (Ramsgate), 23-26 Jul, £8-12 (12am).