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Norwich named as one of the UK’s ‘Six Cities of Circus’

Published on Monday, 18th December 2017

Norwich has been named as one of a handful of cities in the UK to be recognised for its significant circus heritage.

The recognition means Norwich (along with Great Yarmouth as part of a joint bid for the accolade) joins five other cities which have been named as ‘Six Cities of Circus’. Each will go on to play a vital role in helping to highlight and celebrate 250 years of modern circus throughout 2018.

Along with Norwich and Yarmouth, the other circus cities are Bristol, Blackpool, Newcastle-under-Lyme, London and Belfast. Each will host a range of exciting events that will take place across the UK next year as part of the ‘Circus250’ celebrations.

Thanks to the city council’s successful bid for £150,000 of funding from Arts Council England, our region will be able to stage a series of circus-themed events.

One of the city council’s high profile events will be Lord Mayor’s Celebration in July which will feature a circus-themed parade with life-sized elephant puppets winding through the streets. Following this, there will be a Big Top circus festival in Chapelfield Gardens.

Alan Waters, leader of the council, said: “The Lord Mayor’s Celebration is the perfect showcase to celebrate 250 years of circus. The city has deep roots with its circus history as it was the birthplace of the famous 19th century black circus proprietor Pablo Fanque.

“Meanwhile, in Great Yarmouth, the Hippodrome remains Britain’s only surviving complete circus building so we have much to contribute to the UK-wide efforts to mark two-and-a-half centuries of all things circus.”

Contemporary and traditional circuses, museums, theatres and archives will celebrate the 250th anniversary of this spectacular born-in-Britain artform with bedazzling shows, amazing exhibitions, remarkable festivals and breathtaking events.

Circus250 director, Dea Birkett, said: “We’re so pleased to have selected Norwich and Great Yarmouth as one of the Six Cities of Circus.

“The city has a long tradition of circus. PT Barnum used to parade his elephants in Norwich and it’s currently home to the internationally renowned Lost in Translation Circus as well as The Oak Circus Centre. And in modern times Great Yarmouth is home to circus and street arts specialists, SeaChange Arts.”

The Arts Council project is a collaboration between SeaChange Arts, Norwich Arts Centre, Lost in Translation Circus and Norwich City Council.

More details about Circus250 events happening in our region will be available in the New Year.