2018 is the 250th anniversary of circus and Circus250 has been celebrated nationwide and across Europe.
Any anniversary is an opportunity to look both forward and back. In 2018, Crying Out Loud has done just that.
Audiences across the UK have loved Now or Never, a joyful and celebratory circus show performed by musical acrobats in a traditional big top. Circus Sampler took place across two glorious weekends at Somerset House with Gandini Juggling performing Cascade in the courtyard fountain water jets, Far From The Norm exciting audiences with Union Black and Marawa and the Majorettes teaching hundreds of people to hoola hoop. Nearly three thousand people attended Circus Originals – an exhibition that put the spotlight on some of the innovators of the circus world, past and present, which featured an original installation by Rose English. And adrenalin fuelled Race Horse Company stunned audiences with Motosikai, a madcap street show performed out of the back of a transit van.
In 1768 Philip and Patty Astley established the first permanent circular arena on the banks of the Thames, presenting trick riding and acrobatics – creating what we now consider the first modern circus. The idea took hold and circus became a vibrant industry.
Circus has expanded as an art form and can now be found outside the ring or the tent and in every kind of venue, festival and site-specific event. But like the circus of old, contemporary circus is about the live event, of shared experiences, and about the extraordinary physical capability of the human body. Our 2018 programme has been all these things and more. Take a look at the photo gallery and see for yourself.