By the time you read this, the famous Billy Smart’s Circus will be in town, big top pitched at Centre Vale Park, Todmorden, and with the first performance completed this afternoon.
All in all, there will be nine opportunities to watch some of the most talented circus performers around going through their paces in what is a rare opportunity to see them on your doorstep.
In the 1960s, 70s and 80s, the circus was frequently featured on television with a number of spectacular shows, making Billy Smart’s perhaps the best known circus around.
Back in those days animals were part of the show as was the case with most circuses, that has long since changed and what you are treated to in the 21st century is routines developed by some of the best artists in the world.
There are a range of prices in the different seating areas to suit all pockets, ranbging from around £12 to £23 for adults and £10 to £18 for children. There are some discounts if you book online - log on to www.billy-smarts-circus.co.uk - but you can also purchase tickets for unsold seats on the door at each performance.
The circus says performances will be given at 4.45pm and 7.30pm on Friday, at 2pm, 4.45pm and 7.30pm on Saturday and finally at 12.30pm and 3.30pm on Sunday, before the show moves on to Halifax’s Savile Park from May 13 to May 18.
This year’s show, hosted by Billy’s granddaughter Yasmine Smart, is the largest company touring the UK. Each year the circus tours an area of the Uk, enabling people to see a show almost on their doorstep.
An animal-free circus, its award-winning artists from around the world combine in a fast-moving two hour show.
They include include the Flying Aces, from Australia, five exciting youngsters on the flying trapeze; the ten-handed Assadulin Troupe, from Russia, direct from Ringling, Barnum and Bailey Circus in the U.S., and who will be bringing their spectacular springboard and Russian bar acts to the U.K. for the first time; aerial star Alina Eskina; the Extreme Brothers, a trio of talented acrobats from Romania certain to be a talking point of the show; Italian clown, Jonny Bogino, bringing his whimsical comedy style to UK audiences for the first time; and more.
Yasmine says: “We’re proud to bring Billy Smart’s Circus back to life as a touring circus. We have not tried to re-create the ‘old’ Smart’s - it would be too big to tour in these times, and styles have changed. This is a modern, compact version, designed for twenty-first century audiences.”
A live band, the only one in a British touring circus, complements the action.
Billy Smart founded his circus in 1946 and over the next 25 years it became a household name largely through its TV appearances.
TV audiences peaked at 21 million, a huge figure even now and earned the circus a “Silver Camera” award.