Lexicon & the Cities of Circus
published Thursday 21 December, 2017
We're so proud to be premiering LEXICON in the heart of Newcastle-under-Lyme next year, in partnership New Vic Theatre and as part of the Circus250 celebrations in 2018.
This week, it was revealed that Newcastle will be celebrated as one of the UK's Six Cities of Circus – the places with the most significant circus heritage and best of today’s circus performance.
Read the full Circus250 announcement below:
In 1768, in the heart of London, entrepreneur and showman Philip Astley drew out a ring and filled it with astonishing acts – tumblers, horses, acrobats, jugglers, clowns. He created the first circus. Every circus, anywhere in the world, began at that moment.
Sensational circus events will be taking place across the UK throughout 2018, focused around the Six Cities of Circus.
These Six Cities of Circus – Bristol, Blackpool, Norwich and Great Yarmouth, Newcastle-under-Lyme, London, Belfast – will glitter with bedazzling shows, amazing exhibitions, remarkable festivals and breath-taking events. Contemporary and traditional circuses, museums, theatres and archives will celebrate the 250th anniversary of this spectacular born-in-Britain artform.
Sir Tony Robinson, actor, historian, broadcaster andCircus250 Champion, says, ‘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. It’s also huge fun. From Bristol to Blackpool and Belfast, we’re going to gasp, cry, laugh, whoop and be startled at 100s of events. Circus250 in 2018 isn’t only going to be the greatest show, it’s going to be the best fun.'
Dea Birkett, Ringmaster at Circus250, says, ‘Circus250 celebrates the past but looks to the future. Over the last 250 years, circus – the original pop up – has continually evolved and reinvented itself. Each of our Six Cities of Circus demonstrate through their fabulous histories and awe-inspiring current circus, just how enduring and innovative circus is.’
World-renowned British artist Sir Peter Blake has designed the Circus250 logo so all participating events are instantly recognizable as part of the UK-wide celebrations.
In Bristol, home to more circus companies than any other British city:
The Royal West of England Academy Circus250 exhibition ‘Sawdust and Sequins’ opens in March – an extraordinary collection of contemporary circus-inspired art, accompanied by performance from Bristol circus school Circomedia.
In Norwich, birthplace of famous 19th century black circus proprietor Pablo Fanque, and Great Yarmouth, home to the Hippodrome, Britain’s only surviving complete circus building:
The Lord Mayor’s Celebrations features a circus parade with life-sized elephant puppets winding through the streets in July and ‘Famished’, the new show by Norwich-based Lost in Translation, opens.
In Newcastle-under-Lyme, birthplace of Philip Astley:
NoFit State circus premieres their new in-the-ring show ‘Lexicon’ under their big top in March and ‘Astley’s Astounding Adventures’ – specially commissioned for Circus250 year - opens at New Vic Theatre in July.
In London, city of the very first circus by Waterloo:
CircusFest – the Roundhouse’s month-long celebration of contemporary circus – kicks off in April. The V&A is one of many major London museums joining in the celebrations with a Friday Late ‘Circus – Past, Present and Future’.
In Blackpool, home of the Tower Circus staging shows since 1894:
The town comes alive with circus celebrations, from the traditional Tower Circus to the cutting edge Grundy Gallery.
In Belfast, throughout the Troubles circus schools were places where the two communities met to create great work:
Contemporary Tumble Circus’s Christmas show closes the Circus250 celebratory year in Belfast’s Writers Square.
Circus250 is the Community Interest Company coordinating the celebration of 250 years of circus in 2018. (Think Shakespeare400, but with a few feathers and a lot of fun.)