Don’t stop clowning about – Blackpool’s ‘Circus 250’ celebrations

Martin Gardner posted on May 11 2018

Circus performer from the Endresz family

Circus performer from the Endresz family at Blackpool Tower Circus, Blackpool, Lancashire, England.

Roll up, roll up for Blackpool’s ‘City of Circus’ celebrations as the resort unveils spectacular season of themed shows and events. Blackpool is celebrating its role as one of six cities of circus in the UK with a season-long programme of special events including spectacular live entertainment, events and exhibitions to mark the 250th anniversary of circus in the UK. Events will be heavily focused on the magnificent Blackpool Tower Circus, which is now open for the season until November 4th.

‘City of Circus’ will also incorporate other key resort attractions including Blackpool Pleasure Beach, the world-famous Blackpool Illuminations, cinema and art gallery. The main highlight will be “The Blackpool Tower Week Of Circus” taking place in early July and featuring a circus parade along the Golden Mile, a Circus250 talent competition to find a star of the future and a special charity VIP performance of the current Blackpool Tower Circus show.

That will be followed by a summer-long circus-themed exhibition in the Grundy Art Gallery and a series of specially-commissioned features within the Blackpool Illuminations between September and early November.

Cllr Gillian Campbell, Deputy Leader of Blackpool Council, said ‘We are delighted to reveal the various ways in which we will celebrate our designation as a City of Circus. We are hugely proud of the resort’s circus traditions and the programme of events that is lined up features a hugely diverse range of events for all the family to enjoy. It gives us a unique opportunity to bring other resort attractions into the celebration.’

Kate Shane, Head of Blackpool Cluster at Merlin Entertainments (which operates The Blackpool Tower and Circus) added ‘While we can’t claim to have been doing circus in Blackpool for 250 years, we have never missed a season since 1894. Over the years, The Blackpool Tower Circus has evolved into an animal-free circus and now showcases some of the finest circus talent in the world. Add in the opulent Matcham-designed interior and you start to understand why the circus is one of the most popular and enduring attractions in Blackpool.’

The other places that have been chosen to take part in the anniversary year celebrations are, Belfast, Bristol, Great Yarmouth & Norwich, Newcastle-under-Lyme and London, where that first circus performance took place on the Embankment when showman Philip Astley drew out a ring and filled it with astonishing acts.




Houndshill Shopping Centre Weekend of Circus
1-3 June: Roll up, roll up to one great weekend of circus at The Houndshill Shopping Centre.  Three days of family-fun from 11am-4pm daily, packed with a whole host of circus activities to get involved in, whilst helping raise money for Great Ormond Street and Aiming Higher children’s charities. Come join the circus! Learn awesome new skills or try your hand at balloon modelling. Step back in time with Betty The Strong Lady and get creative with Harry Hound, not forgetting our special guests and a few surprises throughout the days!


Blackpool Tower Circus

Blackpool Tower Circus

The Blackpool Tower Week of Circus
Friday 6 July: A 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.

Monday 9 & Tuesday 10 July: First auditions take place for Circus250 Star of the Future.  The winning act(s) will be invited to appear at the Special Charity Performance of the Blackpool Tower Circus on Friday 13 July.

Wednesday 11 July: A Night with the Endresz Family.  Starting at 7.30pm, the evening will be hosted by a VIP compere discussing the Endresz Family involvement with the Tower Circus for over 25 years including their history and background with some special circus performances.

Thursday 12 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 show.  The parade will be led by resident clowns Mooky and Mr Boo.

Friday 13 July – Ending the week will be a Special Charity & VIP Show of the world-famous Blackpool Tower Circus including Mooky and Mr Boo, the Tower Circus performers, a one-off performance of special circus acts plus the winners of the Circus250 Star of the Future.  All proceeds will go to the Blackpool Carers group.

The Art of Circus
July 14 to September 7: The Grundy Art Gallery’s summer programme will deliver a series of inter-connected exhibitions that explore the history, themes, ideas and images of circus.

Circus Cinema
July 21: The stunning, independent, art deco Regent Cinema will screen Laurel and Hardy’s The Chimp, followed by Charlie’s Chaplin’s The Circus.

Blackpool Illuminations
August 31 to November 4: Circus250 will be celebrated in a new promenade display of circus clowns, a specially-designed big top and a new projection show on the front of The Blackpool Tower building.

Pleasure Beach Circus Fun
Various dates: A late-night riding and fireworks event on July 7 will feature circus-themed performances and a screening of The Greatest Showman from 7pm.

The Spectacular Hot Ice show, which runs from July 5 to September 8, will see one of the world’s great ice shows incorporate some amazing circus skills.

The Circus of Horrors show returns to Blackpool Pleasure Beach from October 26-31. This show boasts bizarre circus acts woven into a sensational shock-horror story and the darkest of magic!

July 7, 1pm-4pm: Wordpool, Blackpool’s hugely pop4ular literary festival, takes place in the beautiful Stanley Park with a circus-themed programme of activities.


Wooly Circus
April to July: Mrs Johnson’s Emporium, a specialist wool and haberdashery store on Bond Street in Blackpool’s South Shore, has created a Big Top of knitted circus characters featuring strongmen, acrobats and trapeze artists. Check out the window display. Click here for further information.

For updates and tickets on Blackpool’s Circus250 programme, go to
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