Visit Blackpool

Circus 250

Roll up, roll up! Blackpool named as City of Circus 2018

Circus 250 Logo2018 marks a very special anniversary: 250 years of circus in the UK. And where better to celebrate than in the home of the world-famous Blackpool Tower Circus?

Blackpool is one of six towns and cities across the country specially chosen to help celebrate the milestone.

Although it can’t claim to have been around for 250 years, the circus, set in an opulent Matcham-designed interior at the base of The Blackpool Tower, first appeared in 1894 and has never missed a season.

The 2018 season will see another spectacular show starring the inimitable Mooky The Clown.  To mark the significant impact that the Endresz family have made to the town, VisitBritain have made this fantastic short film to celebrate. 


What else is happening? 

There is lots of circus-related activity happening across Blackpool in 2018, keep checking back here for updates!

The Blackpool Tower 'Week of Circus' 

Roll up, roll up and join us for a whole week of circus activity to celebrate Circus250 including:
Friday 6th July at 13:00 – A FREE talk by Professor Vanessa Toulmin on The History of The Blackpool Tower Circus.  Dr Toulmin is the Founder and Director of the National Fairground Archive at the University of Sheffield and will be talking about the magnificence and history of the world-famous Blackpool Tower Circus. To book tickets, click here

Monday 9th & Tuesday 10th July – First auditions take place for Circus250 Star of the Future.  After a search was launched in May, circus stars of all ages will be invited to apply for a Britain’s Got Talent Style audition to kick off Circus250 week at the Blackpool Tower Circus.  The winning act(s) will then be invited to appear at the Special Charity Performance of the Blackpool Tower Circus on Friday 13th July.

Thursday 12th July – The Blackpool Tower Circus Parade will set off at midday starting at Central Pier, travelling along the Promenade with circus acts, performers and lots more making their way back to the Tower Circus via North Pier in time for the afternoon circus.  The Parade will be led by Mooky and Mr Boo along with the Tower Circus performers.

Tower Circus Performers

Come One, Come All! A Celebration of Blackpool Tower Circus  (14 July - 8 September, Grundy Art Gallery)

Blackpool Museum Project have collaborated with the Grundy Art Gallery to celebrate the 250th anniversary of circus. This exhibition will draw from the internationally significant Blackpool Tower Circus collection, exploring the acts, the clowns and the audiences of this iconic circus. A series of public events will complement this exhibition, please click here for further details.

A Clown Walks into a Gallery . . . is a group exhibition that brings together five internationally recognised contemporary artists whose works individually and collectively reference the act of performance, the role of disguise and the line between fiction and fact. 

Tower Circus
Image Copyright: Heritage Blackpool

The Regent Cinema Blackpool's Circus Showings! (21 July 19:30 - 22:00, The Regent)

Join The Regent Cinema for a circus double bill! This stunning, art deco cinema will screen Laurel and Hardy's The Chimp, where two bumbling circus performers drive the circus to ruin, ending up with a flea circus and chimp. Charlie's Chaplin's The Circus will also be screened, where Charlie Chapling unwittingly ducks into a Big Top, where his bumbling attempts to avoid pursuing police officers earn the laughter and applause of the circus-goers. 

Old Tower Circus Posters

Circus250 will be celebrated in the Blackpool Illuminations (31 August - 4 November)

Blackpool Illuminations has been lighting up Blackpool’s famous promenade for over 130 years, attracting over 3.5 million visitors each year.  As part of this year’s Blackpool Illuminations and the contemporary LightPool experience, Circus250 will be featured in the creation of a Big Top style of festoon lighting with Circus250 lightboxes.

Furthermore, a Circus250 themed show will be projected onto the world-famous Blackpool Tower building nightly during the Illuminations display. Click here for further information.

Circus 250 Illuminations

Circus Fun at Blackpool Pleasure Beach! (Various Dates, Blackpool Pleasure Beach)

Blackpool Pleasure Beach's Hot Ice show may have a reputation as one of the world’s stunning ice shows, and amongst the amazing skating there is also some fantastic circus themes. Alexei Kofanov brings something completely different to the show with his amazing silks and pole performances, all done in a bath, and a bed, on the ice.

As the weather cools, the ghouls come out to play! The Circus of Horrors returns to Blackpool on 26 October. This show boasts bizarre and fantastic circus acts woven into a sensational shock-horror story and the darkest of magic – not to mention the big laughs! Click here for further information.

Wordpool Family Day (7 July 13:00 - 16:00, Stanley Park)

Blackpool's annual and hugely popular literary festival family fun day will be circus-themed for 2018! Click here for further information.

Dinosaurs at Stanley Park Blackpool

It's a Woolly Circus! (April - July, Mrs. Johnson's Emporium)

To celebrate Circus250 celebrations in Blackpool, local wool and haberdashery emporium, Mrs Johnson’s, have created a Big Top of knitted circus characters.  Featuring strongmen, acrobats, trapeze artists and more, take a look at what can be created from stitching away!  You can view the wonderful Big Top and the woolly characters in the emporium window up to July. Click here for further information.

knitted circus characters

Talk by Don Stacey on Tower Circus Photographer Barnet Saidman (17 July 14:00, Brunswick Room, Central Library)

Circus expert Don Stacey will give a talk on Blackpool Tower Circus Photographer Barnet Saidman. Saidman was the resident photographer for the circus from 1940s – 1970s and captured some internationally acclaimed performances. Don will highlight some of Saidman’s best works and explore some iconic Tower Circus acts throughout the decades. 

Circus Skills Workshops (13 and 16 August, 14:00 - 16:00, Brunswick Room, Central Library)

Led by the Amazing Gridneffs, two circus skills workshops will take place at Central Library, suitable for all ages from aged six!

A Talk by Mattie Faint (18 August 15:00 - 17:00, Grundy Art Gallery)

Mattie is the archivist of Clowns International, preserving the history of his chosen profession, as well as the curator of the Clowns Gallery-Museum in London. He'll be giving a talk on all things clownin' around!