LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, BOYS AND GIRLS... welcome to the big top blog of Douglas McPherson, author of CIRCUS MANIA, the book described by Gerry Cottle as "A passionate and up-to-date look at the circus and its people."

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Grant Goldie - Juggling at the Thursford Christmas Spectacular

The Thursford Christmas Spectacular has been called the world’s largest village show and one of the best kept secrets in showbusiness - a £3m West End-scale production staged with a cast of hundreds in a huge agricultural shed full of the carousels, showman's engines and fairground organs of a Norfolk steam museum, the whole thing decked with so many lights it looks like an Aladdin's Cave. This year’s cast includes juggler and diabolist Grant Goldie who told me all about it:

Growing up in Norfolk, did you go to Thursford as a child?
I first went when I was five, and what I remember most was how cold it was. There was no heating in the barn in those days and you could see your breath. Luckily it’s a lot warmer now.

How would you describe Thursford today?
It’s a monster show, with so many people doing so much that it’s quite unbelievable. Everyone says, ‘You’re playing to 1400 people twice a day for two months? Where’s that - London?’ No, it’s 40 miles from the nearest dual carriageway! I don’t know how it’s grown so big, except that they’re obviously doing something right. There’s loads of room backstage with a big green room and a rehearsal area. The wings are massive, as is the venue.

How did you get involved?
A friend recommended me for Santa’s Magical Journey, which is a walk-through experience on the side. The kids meet Santa, then there’s a 120-seat theatre area with magicians etc. I did that last year, then this year they put me in the main show. The only restriction is there’s not much headroom for diabolo, so I do most of the routine on the D section in front of the stage, then there’s a bit to the side with more height, so I go there for a higher throw.

How does Thursford compare with your usual work?
I usually play international street theatre festivals, but Thursford is great, because it's like Christmas for two months. Even the houses in the village put up their decorations in November.

The Thursford Christmas Spectacular runs every day until December 23.

Jasper King
tries not to become a
burnt Chippolata
- a picture from
Circus Mania
For more about jugglers, including an interview with street stars the Chippolatas and how Gerry Cottle began his career with homemade juggling clubs made from lemonade bottles and broom handles, read Circus Mania - The Ultimate Book For Anyone Who Dreamed of Running Away With The Circus. It's the ideal Christmas present for anyone who hasn't been to a circus since childhood.

Click here to buy Circus Mania - described by the Mail on Sunday as "A brilliant account of a vanishing art form."

1 comment:

  1. Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for a Happy New Year!
    Bring you Good wishes of happiness.

    Sorry for greeting you earlier,, just don't want miss saying this.
    By the way, I'm clotee. It's my first time visiting your blog. I am blogger too, and now try my best luck to open an e-store. Nice to know you.