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."

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Circus Ferrel comes to school!

Circus Ferrel at Yaxham Primary School

Following on from my previous post on Circus Starr, which puts on shows for disadvantaged kids (click here to read all about it), I chanced to drive past this afternoon a big top that gives children a chance to star in the spotlit circle, Circus Ferrel.

Circus Ferrel transport
Seen here in the grounds of Yaxham Primary School in Norfolk, Circus Ferrel has a unique business model. Each week it builds up at a school somewhere in East Anglia. During the week they give free circus skills workshops to the children. The keenest kids are then rehearsed for a chance to appear alongside professional performers in the shows that the circus puts on at the weekend.

Circus Ferrel is the brainchild of Martin Taylor, who trained as a teacher and enjoyed a varied career as a TV repairman and steam train driver on a preserved railway before finding his calling as Marty the clown; and his wife Lynette who supervises the show as Grandma the ring-mistress.

The couple became fascinated by the world of the big top after attending a local circus and then getting involved as helpers before deciding to live the dream of setting up their own circus.

If you'd like Circus Ferrel to visit your school, the week-long circus experience includes a circus assembly and ideas for incorporating circus themes into regular classes. It's completely free to the host school and funded by the public shows that the circus puts on at the weekend.

What's in it for the circus? Well, they get a free ground to build up on; the kids promote the circus by putting up posters locally and, best of all, they encourage parents to buy tickets. After all, what mum and dad wouldn't want to attend a show their own children are appearing in?

Sounds like a win-win idea to me. Oh, and if the big top in these pictures looks quiet and deserted beneath that moody sky, don't be fooled. The music coming through the canvas told me there was a performance in full swing, and from the frequent bursts of applause and cheers a full house was lapping it up.

Circus Ferrel's Grandma and Marty
...coming to a school near you
For details, go to and click here to read my review in The Stage of a Circus Ferrel show I attended in Suffolk a couple of years ago.

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