Circus timeline

Contemporary circus has more history than you might think.

Taking its starting point in the community and social circus movements of the late 60s and 70s, Crying Out Loud’s visual timeline marks a selection of the pivotal companies and events from four decades of UK contemporary circus.

Please click here to view our circus timeline.

In the long view we see circus’ reliable ability to work itself through the cracks of mainstream culture: it appears in Covent Garden after the fruit market closes and before the developers move in, runs the corridors and halls of an abandoned Victorian fire and police station, springs up in timber-yards and warehouses and among the shadowed vaults under London Bridge.

Its restless spirit allies itself with the subversive countercultural energy of the new variety and alternative comedy circuits, takes on the voice of the poet and the anarchist, and picks up speed as it moves towards its modern incarnation: a hybrid artform, spread across borders, half in the public eye and half out of it, sensible of its history yet ready, always, to reinvent itself.