We have been going to Giffords Circus since 2002 and my eldest son was a babe in arms and slept through the whole show. We discovered the circus by chance, my husband drove over Minchinhampton Common and saw a row of burgundy showman's wagons and rushed home to tell me as I have a fascination with showman's wagons. Since then we've been to every performance in a whole variety of venues throughout the Cotswolds, each year we look forward to the tour being announced and then decide where and when to see them, but inevitably it's the highlight of the summer holidays.
This year the show is called Lucky 13 and I believe the best ever! The set (pictured below) is beautifully designed with a dramatic dark blue roof and constellations chalked onto a blackboard wall. The story centres around the Hungarians, led by Madam Andromeda, played by the brilliant Nancy Trotter-Landry, who are taking over the show with their bawdy naughtiness and death defying circus acts, whilst the graceful Nell Gifford tries to keep control and put on a more classical show, with a brilliant opera singer and superb horsemanship.
For me the show starts way before I get in the big top, I get childish butterflies in my stomach as I see the road signs and as we tumble out of the car, the music from the organ draws us towards the big top as if we're enchanted. You must always get to the circus early as Tweedy's pre-show warm up is always brilliant, this year with a chicken, he makes the crowd roar with laughter and gives us belly laughs every time we see him!
This year we took Stanley to his first show and apart from a few wiggles, the 15 month old was absolutely captivated; clapping, pointing and smiling all the way through the show. His favourite act was Bibi and Bichu the jugglers and we could feel the heat from their clubs as they juggled with flames. I thought all the acts complimented each other really well, but for us Tweedy, Maximiliano Stia the magician, Imre Bernath the arial acrobat and Francois Marietta the wire walker dressed as Pan were simply spellbinding and had us gasping in wonder!
In the interval we enjoyed delicious pizza cooked on the Chadwick Ovens, cooked in minutes and served from a customised Pizza Wagon.
All too soon the circus was over, ending with all the performers inviting the children into the ring to dance before it was time to go home, and we have to wait a whole year until we get to enjoy this kaleidoscope of merriment again!
p.s. some of these pictures were taken by my ten year old who's still inspired from the photography day with Olympus on Friday!
p.p.s. more pictures over here.