5 Oct 2017

A year in the life of a circus performer - Throwback Thursday

As it's Throwback Thursday, we have decided to revisit one of the most popular ever posts we have featured on this blog – Gina's fascinating account of a year in the life of a circus performer!

This was originally posted in November 2016.

Gina, along with her sister Jacqueline, will be performing in the Gandeys Circus Merry Hill Halloween Spooktacular this October half-term.


My name is Gina Morales, I’m going to start with pointing out that this is my first blog, so I think I should give you some background before telling you about my year;

My parents met while touring on a three ring circus in Mexico - My mother, a dancer from the UK and father a Mexican flying trapeze artist. After marrying they moved to England where they continued touring with various shows and introduced their three children, Rosalia, Jaqueline and myself to the exciting world of Circus.

I started performing full time after completing my A levels and now Jacqueline and I perform a Rolling Globe act which we began training for in 2005 during school holidays and have now been able to tour with this skill across the UK.

When travelling full time the years blend into one. There is no exact start or finish to the cycle its constant moving, training, performing, build-ups, pull downs and before you know it you’re onto another year!

Now, this year has been a different story. Don’t get me wrong, every year is a mix of emotions; exciting, exhausting and extremely enjoyable but this year I have been able to work abroad for the first time and not just a two hour flight to France or Spain (although both of these are also on my list!). This year I took a whole 15 hour trip to Hong Kong to perform as part of The Royalles British Thrill Circus in the TungWah Charity Carnival for four months. What an incredible experience this was! Spending Christmas, New Year, Chinese New Year, Easter and so many other celebrations in a whole new environment with different traditions, customs, food etc,  all while performing up to four shows a day… it truly was an incredible experience!

Now some of you may be thinking; “does she ever see her family?” well I can assure you the answer is yes… my dad actually tours with us! After moving to the UK he swapped the trapeze for a red nose and large shoes and became the circus clown (that’s a whole other story). Although my mum is based at home in Essex and my youngest sister studying in London, they will definitely come to stay with us at any given opportunity –especially during our Hong Kong adventure.

I came back to the UK late March and would start the next tour in April so it was lovely to have a couple of rest weeks enjoying family time, catching up with school friends and preparing for the next adventure but saying this, Circus artists - in my experience, aren’t used to much time off, so after the first three or four days I was already itching to get back to work!

Well before too long it was time to pack the bags and head off onto the next tour. This time I stayed in the UK and toured for my second year with Circus Starr, a non-profit organisation that moves to a different town every two days. Now this is serious touring… this is arriving at a new town, building up the big top, training in the evening of day one then performing two shows and taking down the tent ready to move again by day two. Sound like a lot of work? Well, it is. The time working goes by ridiculously fast and with a company that feels like family it’s impossible not to love.

I realise I keep mentioning training without explaining what exactly it involves. It’s a bit of everything from general fitness workouts and improving current skills as well as learning new ones. For example, at the moment I am working on a low wire act so practising this takes up most of my morning and before I know it it’s time to get ready for the show!

So being a circus performer doesn’t just involve a bit of a parade, your 5 minute act then a quick goodbye finale. There is much more to it than many would believe. An excellent example of this would be my October half term job with Gandey's Circus at Merry Hill in Birmingham.

Of course rehearsals take place prior to any opening of a new show and this was no exception, what with dancers, incredible lighting and sound plus lots of performers it was a huge team and lots to arrange before opening. Some of you may know being part of a team means being a team player…what you may not know is for a circus performer it means being a storm trooper one minute you're dressed as some form of mascot the next then back to glitter and glam for your act, this is all while making sure you have enough popcorn and souvenirs ready for the intermission of a sold out show. It’s this type of manic chaos and rather unpredictable day to day challenge that I enjoy.

When touring with a Circus, working over Christmas is always an option. However, with my winter tour on Circus Starr having finished in mid-November and my next contract starting in January, this year I’ve decided to go on a family vacation because, as you may have gathered, it’s been a busy year. 

14 Sep 2017

Gina's Butlins Blogs: Until Next Time...

I can not believe how fast this summer has gone by...so fast that I couldn't even keep up with a weekly post! I'm sure everyone can understand that though :) and, although the weather may not have been the best, I'm sure I speak on behalf of all the team when I say its been a summer to remember!

A week ago Butlins said 'Goodbye to the Circus' at all three resorts and we said goodbye to some amazing artists who we are all now proud to call friends as they jet of to the airports to have some well deserved time at home or are on to their next adventure.

Performing to so many happy families on a daily basis has been bliss and having been able to meet such lovely people along the way has made our job so enjoyable... its been easy to forget that it is a job!

In Skegness we were treated to a farewell cake from our front of house team and they even joined us in the ring for a final bow on our last performance. I am sure the other two units had some tearful goodbyes to face too. Signs of a successful summer if you ask me! 

But not all of the artists have left us! Some of the acts from Bognor, Minehead and Skegness are now teaming together to continue the Gandey Circus 2017 Tour which commences in Smethwick - Lightwoods Park on the 14th of September! That's the beauty of this business...you are forever bumping into or working with previous colleagues so it never really is a true goodbye.


The rest of Gina's Butlins blogs can be found here.

18 Aug 2017

Gina's Butlins blogs

Have you been following Gina Morales's Butlins blogs on our Gandey's Circus blog?

Gina - one half of the amazing Las Chicas Morales - has been keeping us updated on her time at Butlins Skegness, and giving us all an insight into the life of a circus performer.

It's a fascinating read! Here's what she's been up to so far!

Week One - From the Top!

Well we have officially been at Butlins Skegness for a week... and what a week its been!

Naturally after a holiday and some time off from work arriving at Butlins and jumping straight back into rehearsals, training, performing and putting on the extravagant show makeup was.. well.. what can I say… we were all slightly out of practice!

So, having settling into our lovely accommodation in Skegness, day one of meet and greet/jump into rehearsals followed suit. These are always exciting, we were introduced by Philip Gandey  (our Creative Director) to all the team – both those on and off stage and then we started getting the show together with our fabulous choreographer Daniel Todd...

...Click here to read the full blog entry

Week Two - Fun Day Monday!  

Well firstly it’s been over a week since my last Blog… and for that I blame my family… Ok I don’t blame them exactly, but naturally as Mum and Sis were visiting I spent a lot less time in my room on my laptop and far more time in Reds, the Cinema and Centre Stage!

Now for many of you, Mondays are a lot of things but fun isn’t one of them! It’s your first day back to work and feels as though the day itself lasts a week. Well for us, Monday is the weekend and we love to make the most of it!...

...Click here to read the full blog entry

Week Three - Practice Makes Perfect!

Well it’s been manic…

Now that everyone is into the swing of things we have all realised there is quite a bit of free time. Naturally in this free time we like to lay in, have tea and biscuits or venture into town for a coffee and browse around the shops…

But we also use it to practice.

This varies for everyone. Some of us go for a morning jog, others do weights or follow a cardio DVD, but you can guarantee that post-show most of the artists are in the circus ring working on new tricks to improve the act, perfecting anything that has been going slightly wrong or learning a whole new skill… by the end of the week we all deserve that cheat day!...

20 Jul 2017

5 fun facts about Aberdeen

We love Aberdeen! It's a fantastic city and has to be one of our favourite places to visit.

And it just so happens that we have not one, but TWO shows in Aberdeen at the moment! 

The Lady Boys of Bangkok are performing at Beach Links in the unmistakably-pink Sabai Pavilion until Saturday 29th July... and just down the road at Queens Links you'll find The Chinese State Circus - who will be playing in the Big Top until Sunday 30th July!

In fact, the two tents are so close to each other that you can see them both in the bottom-right corner of this Aberdeen evening landscape scene.

Here are 5 facts you may not have known about Aberdeen:

1) There are over 30 places named Aberdeen throughout the world (although the one in Scotland is surely the best)!

2) Aberdeen houses Britain's oldest business - the Aberdeen Harbour Board.

3) Aberdeenshire's Craigievar Castle partially inspired Disney's iconic Cinderella Castle, and you can see why!

© National Trust for Scotland

4) More medieval coin hoards have been found in Aberdeen than anywhere else in Britain.

5) In 1882 Aberdonian Astronomer Sir David Gill took the first successful photograph of a comet. The Moon's Gill Crater is also named after him.

What is your favourite thing about Aberdeen? let us know in the comments!

14 Jul 2017

Origins of the Chinese Circus

200 BC – 200 AD – Han Dynasty, Sichuan Province – Juggler with balls and knives – Carving, stone of the “Hundred Games.” [source: Chinese Acrobatics Through The Ages, p15]

The origins of the Chinese circus are not entirely crystal clear. There are debates and differing opinions when it comes to the exact history behind the circus, which is not a surprise when you take into account how long it has been around!

First records of the Chinese circus - including carvings and mural paintings - date back more than 2,000 years to the Warring States period (475–221 BC), with evidence of performances developing further during the Qin and Han Dynasties (221 BC - 230 AD). Although it is believed that the art may have actually started around 3,000 years ago!

One theory is that the acts originated in imperial courts, with performers entertaining the houses in a manner similar to western court jesters. However, it is more likely that the circus was a folk art that was later adopted by the imperial houses. The acts evolved from a simple exhibition of skills into a performing art, with a varied repertoire of skills including tumbling, balancing, plate spinning, pole balancing and rope dancing. The circus came to be known as The Show of One Hundred Tricks.

Chinese street performers seen by Johan Nieuhof in 1655-57

The circus became a family tradition, much like in European circuses, with skills being passed from generation to generation. Successful circus families became famous, with their names being known far and wide.

The circus declined in China in the mid-20th century as a result of the second world war, but in 1949 the art received a boost from The People's Republic of China to preserve the art form and fund the training of new performers.

There are over 200 circus and acrobatic troupes within China today and most of them have toured around the world. 

The Chinese State Circus is currently touring the UK with it's new production - 'Dynasty'.

8 Jul 2017

World Fringe Day 2017

World Fringe Day 2017.
"The Edinburgh Festival Fringe was the world’s first fringe back in 1947. Fast forward
70 years and there are now more than 200 fringes worldwide.
The spark which was ignited in Edinburgh in 1947 has circled the globe and the fringe model has been emulated from Australia to France, Canada to Prague, South Africa to Brighton, China to Brazil, and everywhere in-between.
World Fringe Day will take place on Tuesday,
11 July 2017 at the midpoint in the 70th anniversary year. This will be an opportunity for all fringes, venues, participants and audiences across the world to come together to celebrate and to demonstrate the worldwide reach and collective power of fringe."
Gandey World Class Productions has been taking shows to perform as part of the Edinburgh Fringe for nearly 20 years and the Brighton Fringe for nearly 15! 
So far this year The Lady Boys of Bangkok took their brand spanking new Sabai Pavilion and show 'Who Runs the World' to the Brighton Fringe in May performing to hundreds of people each night!

The Lady Boys earlier this year enjoying some candyfloss at the Brighton Pier. 
The show is currently touring Scotland before finishing up at the Edinburgh Fringe once again, a highlight of the year. 
We will be celebrating 70 years of the Fringe for #WorldFringeDay and we would love for you to join us! 
Check out our social media and join in the conversation! #Fringe70 

30 Jun 2017

Butlin's 2017

Gandey World Class Productions works closely with many partners for a variety of their touring shows.

One partner we love to work with every year is Butlin's Resorts. Gandeys Circus, a company brimming with world class performers, provide entertainment at each of their UK resorts for the Summer and they are soon to be returning for 2017! 

Here are some of the incredible mesmerising artistes you can expect to see this year in Skegness include (but are not limited to!):

The hilarious, Chico Rico!

Las Chicas Morales!

The Serik Brothers!

Havana Troupe!

Gandey's Circus at Skegness will open on the 15th July. 

Details for other resorts will be released in the next coming weeks! You can always keep up to date by following us on Facebook or via out website www.gandeyscircus.com 

23 Jun 2017

Guest post: A breathtaking evening at the Chinese State Circus

The following review was originally published on the Plutonium Sox Family Blog and has been posted here with the kind permission of the author.


A breathtaking evening at the Chinese State Circus

There aren’t many evenings out that are fun for the whole family. Entertainment after a certain time tends to be aimed at adults and whilst children are often welcome, it’s not necessarily much fun for them. One clear exception is the circus. And as circuses go, the Chinese State Circus is by some distance the best I’ve ever seen.

About the Chinese State Circus

The Chinese State Circus is world famous for skilful performances that wow the audience. The team comprises 30 acrobats, jugglers, aerial artists and Shaolin Warriors. Each act is a few minutes long before moving on to a different act. There isn’t a moment when the audience isn’t transfixed by the stage.

Unlike many such shows, the Chinese State Circus is entirely true and authentic. There’s no trickery or optical illusions. Just highly trained athletes that have practiced their performances for years to achieve perfection.

The Chinese State Circus Dynasty production

The production currently touring is called Dynasty. The show starts with a drummer at the back of the stage creating an atmospheric drum beat. He is soon joined by acrobats and the show starts with a bang. From the moment the acrobats came on stage, the whole audience were transfixed. Even my fidgety two year old sat quietly except for the odd ooh and ahh...

...Please click here to read the full review on the Plutonium Sox Family Blog


Thank you once again to Natalie from the Plutonium Sox Family Blog for allowing us to post her fabulous review. If you enjoyed her post, don't forget to leave some feedback in the comments to let her know, and check out the rest of her writing.

The Chinese State Circus is currently touring the UK with its latest production - 'Dynasty'! Please see here for all upcoming tour dates.

16 Jun 2017

Pride Month 2017

Here at Gandeys World Class Productions we pride ourselves on celebrating diversity.

June is the month of diversity as it is known in the LGBT+ community as Pride month. 

June was chosen to commemorate the Stonewall Riots which happened at the end of June in 1969. As a result many events are held each year to celebrate the LGBT+ community and the positive impact they have on society. 

Huge organisations now celebrate Pride month, including some of the biggest brands across the globe.

Skittles have 'removed the rainbow' from their packets in honour of Pride month as they claim 'During Pride, only one rainbow matters'.

Facebook have created a Pride Reaction Emoji which users will have for the month of June.

Converse are also supporting the movement with their limited Pride range. All the proceeds from this range go to the It Gets Better Project and Miley Cyrus' Happy Hippie Foundation.

It is incredible to see brands like these getting involved in Pride month all across the globe with a very important message to spread.

The Lady Boys of Bangkok, the queens of Pride, are currently in Manchester until the 24th of June. Don't miss them before they leave! 

9 Jun 2017

Terri Lowe: Gandeys Circus Review

Here at Gandey World Class productions we pride ourselves on being a tight-knit organisation and as employees come and go we love to keep in touch to to see how they're doing and of course always welcome them back to see our productions.

Earlier this year Terri Lowe came to see Gandey's Circus, here's what she had to say:

"For those who have followed my blog, or spoken to me for a while, you may know that in a previous life I worked on the PR and Marketing for Gandey World Class Productions. A production company like no other, they're responsible for shows such as The Chinese State Circus and The Ladyboysof Bangkok. Whilst working there, I developed a completely new love and respect for performance and the work that goes not only in to the choreography of the shows, but also the work that goes in to the outfits!
During my time there, I never got the chance to see the renowned Gandey's Circus. Which is why I knew I had to go and take my little niece when the circus came to Stoke on Trent last week.

I must admit, I wasn't quite prepared for the spectacular show I was about to witness. I assumed there'd be some clowns, maybe a few tricks, a trapeze at a push.... But I soon realised I was very, very wrong. From start to finish the entire crowd was in awe of the amazing acts from around the world, all under one Big Top Tent.

Chico Rico is the clown that appears to run the show, with a healthy dose of audience interaction and (unfortunately for me), a section of audience participation... Which wasn't my best move with a hangover that day, but it was fun all the same. I even got some sneaky Instagram Story footage of my experience in the Circus ring...

From trapeze acts, where women dangled from their hair?! (seriously what conditioner do they use?), to flames on hoops and acrobatics like I've never seen. It was non-stop from the opening musical number, through to the minions and until the very end.

There were too many acts to count, and the show lasted a whopping two hours! I think my niece was probably a little young for a show of that length, as she is only just turned 2. Her attention lasted a good while though and it wasn't until around 1 hour 45 minutes that she began to get a little restless. However, all the other children were captivated until the very end! And it's no wonder, when the final act of the show was the world famous Wheel of Death. Which actually did make most of the audience gasp several times in unison at one point.

The show was rounded off in true Gandey's style, with a collection of amazing costumes and the entire cast coming out for the finale. Not to mention the massive inflatable carousel..."

Terri went to see the show earlier in the year in Stoke-on-Trent, did you go?

Check out more from Terri here