Gandeys celebrates Circus250

Today marks the 250th Anniversary of the first modern circus!

It also marks the beginning of Circus250 – a year long celebration of circus tradition, history, and Philip Astley; the man who started it all.

Philip Astley was a fascinating character. Born in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, the son of a cabinet maker went on to become a military hero, before utilising his expert equestrian skills and knowledge of trick-riding to set up a revolutionary new show on a cold wintery day in London. That first performance was on 9th January 1768 - exactly 250 years ago today!

You can read more about Astley's story in this fantastic article here

Gandeys Circus is proud to be supporting The Phillip Astley Project. Details of which can be found here.

Museums and art galleries are amongst the organisations that will be taking part in Circus250. Not to mention the circuses all over the world that will be celebrating!

In the UK, the Six Cities of Circus will be getting involved, and to kick off celebrations, they will each be lighting up an important building with the Circus 250 logo at approximately 4.20pm this evening.

The six cities are:

Newcastle-under-Lyme – lighting up the Guildhall


Bristol – lighting up the We Are Curious science centre

Norwich & Great Yarmouth (joint) – lighting up Norwich Castle and the Great Yarmouth Hippodrome

Blackpool – lighting up Blackpool Tower

Belfast – lighting up Derry Walls

How are we getting involved?

Gandeys Circus is delighted to be getting involved in Circus250. So here is a rundown of just some of the exciting things that Gandeys and our other productions have coming over the next 12 months:

  • Gandeys Circus will be touring the UK again in 2018, with opening shows in Liverpool (9 Feb) and Knutsford (1 Mar), the show will be presented by 4th. The Greatest Showmen Tour will include a special tribute to Philip Astley and the history of circus.
  • Our very own Carol Gandey will be in attendance at the Budapest Circus festival, and once again presenting the Prix Gandey at the International Circus Festival of Monte Carlo.
  • Once again we will be presenting incredible shows at Butlins resorts this summer.
  • Our show The Great Circus of Europe will continue to delight audiences in Hong Kong through to 25th February.
  • We have several International projects coming up that will promote the values of UK circus across Asia, in destinations such as Malaysia, China and Singapore – to name a few.
  • While details are still being kept under wraps, we are pleased to be presenting circus at one of the UK’s leading Family Festivals.
  • We have a very exciting major contemporary project in development for autumn 2018.
  • Circus Starr will continue to do excellent work nationwide and raise much-needed funds to.
  • Spirit of the Horse Show will be returning to the UK this summer (28 Jun) after an absence of 10 years – harking back to the equestrian roots of Philip Astley.
  • Plus much, much more!!!