Roll up, the circus is in town

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THE circus remains one of the most traditional forms of family entertainment and the oldest family circus in the UK, Circus Ginnett, is preparing to start its travelling season at Wimblington. Citizen reporter EMMA MASON went along to the Big Top at the Priory Golf Centre to talk to the performers and have a go at some of the acts.

The circus has always held an air of mystery and after reading Enid Blyton’s Mr Galliano’s Circus as a child, I had dreams of running off and joining it.

Having had a brief taste of what it would be like, circus life is not for the faint-hearted. You have to be disciplined and very fit to tackle most of the acts and the travelling lifestyle is not for everyone.

It was still exciting to be in the Big Top though and as Dutch performer Anke de Boer applied my ‘circus girl’ make-up, I was looking forward to getting stuck in and trying some acts out.

My first stop was the silks, two very long lengths of thick fabric suspended from the roof of the tent. The silks is the domain of Australian Kate Lawrence, who showed me how to do a couple of tricks.

Although I was only two feet off the ground, it was still disconcerting to be manoeuvring between the taut fabric while gently spinning in circles. I managed to complete the tricks, even though my shoulders ached the following day, and was very pleased I didn’t fall and make a complete fool of myself.

Sadly, the same could not be said for my skills with the hula hoop. Kate made it look so easy, but I just managed to bash myself in the nose with the hoop.

I got a short preview of the dog act, which is performed by Patrick Austin, a descendant of the Ginnett family, and his dog Vader, and Anke talked me through the daring motorcycle trapeze act.

I also got to meet Lloyd Reed, aka Clumbsy the Clown. Lloyd (33) saw his first circus at the age of three and since that moment, just wanted to be a clown. He now prides himself on being the only British clown to wear “big face” make-up.

I really enjoyed my time at Circus Ginnett and although I don’t think it’s for me, I do now fancy learning the silks.

Circus Ginnett will be at Priory Golf Centre from Friday until Tuesday. Tickets are £6 and £8, with a special offer of £5 on Friday. Contact 07582-353634.