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."

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

First Day of Circus to light up Britain for Circus250

The Great Yarmouth Hippodrome
will be lit up for #firstcircusday

Today, January 9, marks the 250th anniversary of the very first circus, and the Six Cities of Circus will be lighting up Britain by projecting the Sir Peter Blake-designed Circus250 logo on prominent buildings including Norwich Castle, the Blackpool Tower, the Great Yarmouth Hippodrome, the Derry Walls in Belfast, the We Are Curious science centre in Bristol and the Guildhall in Newcastle-under-Lyme, where Philip Astley, the inventor of the circus was born.

The illuminations are expected to begin at about 4.20pm when it gets dark.

Circus fans and circus companies, meanwhile, will be marking the launch of the year-long Circus250 celebrations by taking to social media to share news of their plans, coming events and all things circus under the hashtags #firstdayofcircus and #Circus250.

The Six Cities of Circus are:
Newcastle-under-Lyme - Birthplace of Philip Astley, the Father of the Circus as we know it. Click here to read 15 Facts about himNoFit State Circus premieres their new in-the-ring show Lexicon under their big top in March and Astley’s Astounding Adventures – specially commissioned for Circus250 year - opens at New Vic Theatre in July.

London - Birthplace of Philip Astley‘s first circus - the first circus in the world, in fact! - and home of the National Centre for Circus Arts (Read all about the former Circus Space here). CircusFest – the Roundhouse’s month-long celebration of contemporary circus – kicks off in April. The V&A is one of many major London museums joining in the celebrations with a Friday Late Circus – Past, Present and Future.

Launch of the Circus250 logo
in London
Bristol - Home to more circus companies than any other British city. The Royal West of England Academy Circus250 exhibition Sawdust and Sequins opens in Bristol in March accompanied by performance from Bristol circus school Circomedia.

Pablo Fanque
plaque in Norwich
Norwich and Great Yarmouth (joint) - Norwich is the 19th century birthplace of Britain’s first black circus proprietor Pablo Fanque. Events in Norwich will include The Lord Mayor’s Celebrations featuring a circus parade with life-sized elephant puppets winding through the streets in July, and Famished, the new show by Norwich-based Lost in Translation, opens. The seaside town of Great Yarmouth, meanwhile, is home to the Hippodrome, Britain’s only surviving complete circus building. Click here to read about the fateful encounter in this legendary circus building that inspired Circus Mania - The Ultimate Book For Anyone Who Dreamed of Running Away With the Circus.

Blackpool - Home of the Tower Circus staging shows since 1894. The town comes alive with circus celebrations, from the traditional Tower Circus to the cutting edge Grundy Gallery.

Belfast - Throughout the Troubles in Northern Ireland, circus schools were places where the two communities met to create great work. Contemporary Tumble Circus’s Christmas show closes the Circus250 celebratory year in Belfast’s Writers Square.

For details of forthcoming events visit

As we head into circus' biggest year for 250 years, get your circus on by reading Circus Mania by Douglas McPherson - a backstage journey through a secret world of clowns, jugglers, tiger trainers, sword-swallowers, trapeze artists and showmen. 

Click here to read the 5-star reviews on Amazon of the book the Mail on Sunday called "A brilliant account of a vanishing art form."

And may all your days be circus days!

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