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Six ‘cities of circus’ named as part of 250th anniversary celebrations

Photo: David Tadevosian/Shutterstock
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Bristol, Blackpool and London are among six ‘cities of circus’ that have been selected as part of a UK-wide celebration to mark the art form’s 250th anniversary.

Each chosen location will stage shows, exhibitions and events to mark the anniversary.

The other areas selected are Norwich and Great Yarmouth, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Belfast.

The event is organised by Circus250, an organisation supported by Arts Council England to coordinate the 2018 year of circus.

According to the body, the six chosen locations have “the most significant circus heritage and the best of today’s circus activity”.

While the six chosen towns and cities will be the focus of the celebrations, Circus250 said there would be activity all-year round, across the UK. It is encouraging as many organisations as possible, including museums, archives, film festivals, literary festivals, orchestras and schools, to get involved.

The event has been given the support of actor Tony Robinson, who said: ”It’s wonderful to see 250 years of circus being celebrated UK wide in 2018, including in my own city of city of circus – Bristol. Circus doesn’t only happen in the ring. Actors like me are influenced by circus, alongside artists, filmmakers, comedians, mime artists and writers. It has a proud past, vibrant present, and, I’m certain, a fabulous future.”

Dea Birkett, ringmaster at Circus250, described circus as the “original pop-up”.

“Each of our six cities of circus demonstrate through their fabulous histories and awe-inspiring current circus, just how enduring and innovative circus is,” she added.

The year of celebration marks 250 years since entrepreneur Philip Astley staged the first circus in 1768.

The logo for Circus250 has been designed by British artist Peter Blake.

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