British Circuses

A word about the definitions. No two circuses are alike but, with the broadening range of experiences on offer, it can be helpful to clarify what sort of production you are likely to see. ‘Classic’ here does not necessarily mean animal acts (although it may); it refers instead to a traditional compilation of unconnected acts. ‘New’ refers to productions which compile acts tied together with an ongoing theme or narrative; ‘Contemporary’ relates to productions which focus on the conceptual, often working within a specific discipline, and combining with dance and post-dramatic theatre dramaturgies.

We also have ‘circus-theatre’ – companies that focus on theatrical story-telling, but utilising some traditionally circus-based skills to do so, and ‘aerial dance’, a discipline that has sprung from a choreographic start point using aerial techniques.

Please get in touch to add any updates!

ACROJOU – Contemporary

BIG KID CIRCUS – Classic

BILLI SMILES CIRCUS – Classic

BILLY SMART’S CIRCUS– Classic

BLACKPOOL TOWER CIRCUS – New/Classic

CHAPLIN’S CIRCUS – New

CHARLES CHIPPERFIELD CIRCUS – Classic

CHINESE STATE CIRCUS – New

CIRCUS FERREL – New

CIRCUS FANTASIA – Classic

CIRCUS FUNTASIA – Classic

CIRCUS GINNETT – Classic

CIRCUS OF HORRORS – New

CIRCUS MONDAO – Classic

CIRCUS PAZAZ – Classic

CIRCUS-STARR – Classic

CIRCUS TYANNA – Classic

CIRCUS WONDERLAND – Classic

CIRCUS ZYAIR – Classic

CIRQUE BERSERK – Classic

CIRQUE DU HILARIOUS – Classic

CIRQUE NORMANDIE – Classic

CONTINENTAL CIRCUS BERLIN – Classic

CRASHMAT COLLECTIVE – Contemporary

DUOSU – Contemporary

GANDINI JUGGLING – Contemporary

GANDEY’S CIRCUS – Classic

GERRY COTTLE’S CIRCUS – Classic

GIFFORDS CIRCUS – New

GRAVITY & LEVITY – Aerial Dance

HAPPY’S CIRCUS – Classic

HIPPODROME GREAT YARMOUTH – Classic/New

INSECT CIRCUS – New

JAY MILLER’S CIRCUS – Classic

JOHN LAWSON’S CIRCUS – Classic

LEO & YAM – Circus-Theatre

LET’S CIRCUS – Classic

MARY BIJOU CABARET AND SOCIAL CLUB – New

MIMBRE – Contemporary

MOSCOW STATE CIRCUS – New

MR FIPS WONDER CIRCUS – Classic

NETHERLANDS NATIONAL CIRCUS – Classic

NATIONAL FESTIVAL CIRCUS – Classic

NOFIT STATE CIRCUS – New/Contemporary

OKHAM’S RAZOR – Contemporary / Aerial dance

PANGOTTIC – New

PANIC CIRCUS – New

PAULOS CIRCUS – New

PETER JOLLY’S CIRCUS – Classic

PINDERS CIRCUS – Classic

PIRATES OF THE CARABINA – Contemporary

PLANET CIRCUS – Classic

ROGUEPLAY THEATRE – Circus-theatre

RUSSELL’S INTERNATIONAL CIRCUS – Classic

SANTUS CIRCUS – Classic

SQUARE PEG – Circus-theatre

STUMBLE DANCE CIRCUS – Contemporary

SWAMP CIRCUS – New

TUMBLE CIRCUS – New

UNCLE SAM’S GREAT AMERICAN CIRCUS – Classic

UPSWING – Circus-Theatre / Aerial dance

WIRED AERIAL THEATRE – Circus-Theatre / Aerial dance

ZIPPOS CIRCUS – Classic

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    1. When I made the list, the info I could find about them on the web suggested that they tie their acts together with a narrative, which is a step away from the strict classical model. I haven’t any first hand experience though, so can change it if this is incorrect?

      (I also agree that the current labels we have for different strands of circus-based performance aren’t accurate any more, but time moved on and the names seem to have stuck)

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