Highlights of our amazing celebratory year


* First Day of Circus launched at Natural History Museum, London with Handstand for Hope – a handstand under the giant whale Hope. Secretary of State for Culture Matt Hancock watches circus on his first day in office.

Matt Hancock watching Circus250

* Each of the Cities of Circus – London, Blackpool, Belfast, Norwich, Great Yarmouth, Bristol, Newcastle under Lyme – project the Circus250 logo on to a significant building to mark opening of the year.

The Hippodrome in Great Yarmouth

The Economist picks Circus250 as one of the ten top worldwide trends for 2018 – and makes a film about it!


* Circus250 online listings launched in partnership with CircusTalk.


* Circus250 launches Women in Circus short film to mark International Women’s Day.
* Dame Laura Knight’s iconic circus painting The Grand Parade comes out of storage at Newport Museum for the first time in decades and tours to Royal Academy of the West of England, Bristol.


* An entire edition of BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour is handed over to celebrate and discuss women in circus. Listen here.

Presenter Jane Garvey, Professor Vanessa Toulmin and Director Dea Birkett recording a special edition of BBC Woman’s Hour at Zippos Circus.


* Circus250 features at Young Stage Festival Basel, Switzerland.


* Circus250 Caravan launches UK-wide tour at The Homecoming festival, Newcastle-under-Lyme, birthplace of founder of circus Philip Astley
* Circus250: Art of the Show exhibition opens at the National Gallery of Ireland. More here: https://www.nationalgallery.ie/art-and-artists/exhibitions/past-exhibitions/circus250-art-show


* Circus250 Souvenir Book published celebrating the past, present and future of circus. Order your copy here.
* Degas’s Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando arrives at Weston Park Museum, Sheffield, on loan from the National Gallery for Show of Shows exhibition. More here: https://www.museums-sheffield.org.uk/museums/weston-park/exhibitions/past-exhibitions/circus!-show-of-shows
* Circus250 Caravan appears at Chapelfield Circus alongside parade of life-sized elephant puppets as part of Norwich City of Circus celebrations.


Southbank Centre, London, hosts Circus250 Takeover weekend with three days of events, workshops and performances just yards from the site of the original 1768 circus.


Public Record Office Northern Ireland, Belfast, holds its first one-day conference on the history of circus in Ireland.


* Meet My Circus Family launched at Museum of London – circus families share their stories and experiences with hundreds of visitors.
Bristol Museum marks Museums at Night with a Circus extravaganza and the Circus250 Caravan attracting thousands of visitors.


* StrongWomen Science show premieres at Swansea Science Festival in two sold-out shows, followed by Irish premiere at Kerry County Museum – also sold out.


Blackpool Tower Circus’s pantomime Aladdin is Circus250 themed
Circus Life: Art and Artistes exhibition at the Peltz Gallery, London, opens with Dea Birkett, Circus250 Ringmaster, speaking on ‘Why we should all run away to the circus’.
*  Philip Astley Project in Newcastle-under-Lyme celebrates their special year with an Extreme Cake Makeover for Channel 4.

The Circus250 Year In Numbers:

  • Over 600 events in theatres, libraries, galleries, museums, schools, castles, gardens and big tops
  • Circus250 Caravan travelled over 2800 miles appearing at festivals and events countrywide staging over 80 The Secret Life of a Circus Caravan shows.
  • Over 700 articles appear in magazines and newspapers on Circus250, over 50 radio appearances and 6 documentaries
  • Over 16 exhibitions, 10 conferences and 6 conventions
  • Over 3000 Sir Peter Blake designed badges distributed and proudly displayed to badge Circus250 events throughout UK and Ireland
  • 12 original essays commissioned for Circus250 Souvenir Book and over 900 copies distributed worldwide