• The Majorettes

  • Gandini Juggling

  • Far From The Norm

  • The Majorettes

  • Gandini Juggling

  • Rose English

  • Gandini Juggling

  • Far From The Norm

Circus Sampler

Two free weekends of original contemporary circus, hip hop dance and music performances in the fountain courtyard this summer to celebrate 250 years since Philip and Patty Astley pioneered circus in London.

Alongside participatory activities, expect exciting, large-scale work from 65 artists including hoola hoop acrobat and twelve times Guinness World Record holder Marawa the Amazing and the Majorettes. Watch them perform their special brand of synchronised hoola hooping and roller skating or join the hoola schoola at the end of the show and learn how to spin a hoop yourself.

Far From The Norm stage a new show that combines their signature fast-paced footwork and physical floor-work with Chinese Pole and tight-wire. Union Black  is a bold fusion of hip hop and circus that draws parallels between the worlds of football and current European politics.

Accompanied by the rousing sound of brass music played live by Circus Tsuïca, a French band of musical acrobats, trailblazers Gandini Juggling premiere a special commission, Cascade.  Performing within the rhythmic rise and fall of the 55 water jets of the courtyard fountain, the 30 jugglers will send balls large and small flying through the air. With the constant flow of movement, water and sound, Cascade  will be a mesmerising celebration of life, beauty and music.

Complementing the action outside, the East Wing galleries host Circus Originals  talks and an exhibition that includes a compelling new installation from artist Rose English. Learn about the history of circus, watch short films, and uncover a selection of the pioneers and new thinkers who have transformed the circus field today.

Supported by the Garrick Charitable Trust


  • Crying Out Loud is a great producing outfit that has brought some memorable works to these shores.

    Lyn Gardner writing in The Guardian on Crying Out Loud

  • Far From The Norm

    Established in May 2009, Far From The Norm was founded by artistic director Botis Seva and is a collective of dance artists renowned for experimenting with hip hop form whilst tackling socio-political concerns. Far From The Norm’s work portfolio crosses theatre performances, outdoor spectacles and immersive experiences that are renowned for challenging yet inspiring their audiences. They are committed to producing evocative, authentic work by taking audiences on visceral journeys whilst presenting conceptual yet compelling truths.

    Far From The Norm have performed nationally and internationally at festivals such as Sadler’s Wells’ Breakin’ Convention, VAULT Festival, Plymouth Fringe, Talawa Firsts, Austria’s Hip Hop Goes Theatre, Festival Hop! and San Francisco’s International Hip Hop Dance Fest. They have presented work in theatres and venues across the UK.

  • Gandini Juggling

    Formed in 1992 by world-renowned jugglers Sean Gandini and Kati Ylä-Hokkala, Gandini Juggling is at the vanguard of contemporary circus, reinventing and reinvigorating juggling for the 21st century.

    Gandini Juggling celebrates juggling in all its facets. Made up of an ever-evolving ensemble of virtuosic jugglers, they regularly expand to include up to 20 performers for specially commissioned events and performances.

    They are constantly creating new works, which range from radical art/juggling fusions to accessible theatrical performances, from choreographic studies to commercially commissioned routines.

    Gandini Juggling have performed over 5,000 shows in 50 countries and they continue to perform at many of the world’s most prestigious festivals and venues throughout the world. These venues range from contemporary French art galleries to German opera houses, from theatres in Lebanon to tents in Argentina. Closer to home the Gandinis can be seen performing at the UK’s major outdoor festivals and venues including the Royal Opera House and the National Theatre.

    Initially teaming up with pioneering and influential dance artist and choreographer Gill Clarke, Gandini Juggling continue to collaborate with a wide range of cultural leaders. The Gandinis are influenced by a range of disciplines including composers, ballet choreographers, fashion designers, computer programmers, sound designers, set makers and mathematicians. They have spent several seasons working with symphony orchestras, choreographing juggling patterns to canonical classical works and have had music specially composed for them by Tom Johnson and Nimrod Borenstein.

    The Gandinis are very much in demand at leading circus schools, teaching workshops, creating performances and supporting the next generation of circus artists.

    30 productions and 23 years later, Gandini Juggling are still creating some of the most vibrant and challenging performance pieces in the world.

  • Marawa the Amazing

    Marawa trained in a range of circus skills at the National Institute of Circus Arts Australia following a tour of circus schools in China which she undertook following her graduation from high school. She specialised in swinging trapeze but knew her future was with hoops.

    She has performed and taught hoola hooping across the world from Nepal to New York, Somalia and Mexico, worked with fashion houses in London and Paris, and appeared on television across the world including Britain’s Got Talent, Arabs Got Talent and Australia’s Got Talent. She also played Josephine Baker in New York for six months to rave reviews. Marawa is officially amazing as she holds 12 world records including the world record for spinning 200 hoops simultaneously.

    As a result of a series of workshops in 2012 Marawa’s Majorettes was launched, a glittering team of hoop performers who perform and teach workshops to entertain and inspire people all over the world. In 2017, Marawa published a manual for centennial girls, The Girl Guide. A graphic and unsparing manual it outlines what young women need to understand about their minds and bodies.

  • Rose English

    Rose English emerged from the Conceptual art, dance and feminist scenes of 1970’s Britain to become one of the most influential performance artists working today. Her uniquely interdisciplinary work combines elements of theatre, circus, opera and poetry to explore themes of gender politics, the identity of the performer and the metaphysics of presence.

    English has mounted performances in ice rinks; at the Royal Court Theatre and Tate Britain, London and Franklin Furnace, New York; and collaborated with horses, magicians and acrobats. Her work ranges from her site-specific performances and collaborations of the 1970s including Quadrille, Berlin and Mounting, her acclaimed solos of the 1980s including Plato’s Chair and The Beloved to her large scale spectaculars of the 1990s including Walks on Water, The Double Wedding and Tantamount Esperance. Her internationally celebrated solo with a horse – My Mathematics – was produced by Cultural Industry and a series of vignettes with horses were presented by The Banff Centre, Canada and The Serpentine Gallery, London. Ornamental Happiness – a show in song and circus opened the Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art in 2006 followed by Flagrant Wisdom, commissioned by National Glass Centre in 2009. English co-wrote and designed the feature film The Gold Diggers, 1983 directed by Sally Potter; digitally re-mastered and released on BFI DVD in 2009.

    English’s performance works of the 1970s featured in the exhibition WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles 2007. Her installation Quadrille was shown at Freize Masters, London, 2013 with Karsten Schubert, and is now part of the Tate collection. Recent solo exhibitions include The Eros of Understanding, 2014 at Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen and A Premonition of the Act, 2015 at Camden Arts Centre, London.

    Her awards include the Time Out Performance Award, the Wingate Scholarship and the Paul Hamlyn Award for Artists.