Unbeknown to many, dating back to around 1770, the modern circus was created in England by former cavalry Sergeant-Major turned showman Philip Astley. To bring some novelty to his equestrian performances, he hired acrobats, rope-dancers, jugglers, and even the Elizabethan character of the clown.* The people’s love of the circus has endured throughout the years and is still something many of us love to see today, even if it is on the rare but wonderful occasion.
Rare and wonderful are two words we love at Butlin’s, especially when they’re used to describe an experience. And for that exact reason, the Big Top Circus returned to Butlin’s for summer 2016, and what a year it was (yes I’m using the past tense and yes I’m sad it’s over too)!
Brought to us by Gandey Productions, this year’s circus saw jaw-dropping acts from across the globe enter the tent to perform in true awe-inspiring style. Built and ready for use within 10 days, our three purpose-built Big Tops landed at each seaside resort for the start of our School Summer Holiday breaks. Traditionally circular in shape with a striking red, white and blue design meant they definitely couldn’t be missed on resort.
For 6 weeks, Butlin’s became host to professional circuses from all over the world who astounded around 60,000 guests with everything from gymnastics to foot juggling, group cycling to hula hooping.
Guest Jenny who visited our Skegness resort said: “We have gone to the circus at Skegness every year since it started and always loved it. This year’s was by far the best!”
And it’s not just our guests who love the buzz of the summer circus at Butlin’s, Sian from our on-resort Sales Team said “it’s something that you don’t get to see everyday, it’s something exciting!”
So what were some of the highlights?
Every single one of our circus acts wowed us with their talent, skill and often sheer bravery, but here’s my personal highlights from this year’s Big Top Circus:
The most nerve-racking act: without a doubt the Wheel of Death at Skegness. Featuring a 12m high rotating apparatus with a hoop either side, two performers crawled, ran and walked their way round the hoops. Moving inside the hoop (like hamsters on a hamster wheel) to standing on the outside (without safety harnesses, might I add), this incredible act involved skipping ropes and even a go round the wheel blind-folded. An act definitely not for the faint-hearted.
The most elegant act: foot juggling with umbrellas at Bognor Regis and Skegness. The name of the act doesn’t match the talent of this Chinese State Circus who were nothing short of incredible. Balancing up to 10 beautifully decorated umbrellas on their feet at any one time, this act had the whole audience in awe the entire time.
The most jaw-dropping act: Chinese Pole at Bognor Regis. Using a vertical pole, award-winning gymnast Sha Bing completely stunned the crowd with acrobatic stunts like never before. I couldn’t believe my eyes, or the crowd’s cheers!
The funniest act: Chico the Clown at Minehead. Entertaining the crowd again and again at every circus performance throughout the summer, Chico had everyone in stitches from the get-go.
So that’s it for another summer of the circus at Butlin’s (boo!). But don’t fret! Our big top bonanza will be back for 2017 with even more new and incredible acts for the whole family to enjoy.
Whether it’s taking grown-ups back to their childhood or introducing little ones to their first circus experience, our Big Top Circus is the perfect way to make your summer break that extra bit special!
* All information on the History of the Circus is cited from Circopedia.org | http://www.circopedia.org/SHORT_HISTORY_OF_THE_CIRCUS