Chapelfield Summer Circus

12-15 July

Chapelfield Gardens, Norwich

Roll Up Roll Up!

the circus is coming to town

Chapelfield Summer Circus

4 days of spectacular contemporary circus in a big top tent

Thursday 12th to Sunday 15th July 2018

 Plus FREE outdoor workshops for all ages Saturday and Sunday

Tickets on sale from Saturday 21 April – World Circus Day!

8pm Fauna

7pm The Hogwallops: Lost in Translation Circus

10pm Circus Cabaret Lates

11am-2pm Free outdoor workshops

2.30pm The Hogwallops: Lost in Translation Circus

7pm Knee Deep: Casus Circus

10pm Circus Cabaret Lates

11am-2.30pm Free outdoor workshops

3pm Oak Circus Community Cabaret

Ticket prices for all shows £12/£7.50 (Community Cabaret £5/£3)

The Hogwallops: Lost in Translation

“Completely infectious … feels like just what circus should be”
A Younger Theatre ★★★★

A colourful, loud and funny story of the domestic adventures of a chaotic, dysfunctional family. Spectacular circus skills blend seamlessly with physical comedy, clowning, juggling and slapstick. Inspired by Roald Dahl’s The Twits, this hilarious family’s antics create a crazy home that resembles an adventure playground where riotous, anarchic fun prevails. Simple tasks like hanging out the washing become a tangle of swinging, flying bodies and fabric. Dinner-time becomes a teasing game of animalistic juggling and baking takes on dangerous proportions as the household furniture is precariously stacked and balanced on the roof.

7pm Friday 13 July and 2.30pm Saturday 14 July
Adult £12, Concession/child £7.50


“David Attenborough in tights and leotards … enormous fun”
Evening Standard ★★★★

A multi award-winning show that has wowed audiences around the world. The five performers balance, tumble, jump and fly, transforming their bodies into spiders, lemurs, tree frogs and birds of paradise. Set to live music, Fauna is a wholly immersive exploration into the similarities and contrasts between human movement and instinctual, primal animal behaviour. With high-level acrobatics that demonstrate the exquisite skill of each world-class performer, the members of Fauna each embody a distinctly individual animalistic character, utilising their specific traits in order to govern how they develop and interact with one another.

8pm Thursday 14 July
Adult £12, concession/child £7.50

Knee Deep: Casus Circus

“Full of extraordinary skill. ..(an) awe-inspiring show”
The Guardian ★★★★★

Now in its 7th wildly successful year, the four performers of one of Australia’s leading companies explore the boundaries of strength and fragility through contemporary circus and the physical and metaphorical, egg. Bodies are pushed and pulled, eggs are weighed and tested, unlikely bonds are forged and acts of intimacy cohabit space with thrilling physical feats. The Casus artists bring a raw emotional edge and honesty to the stage revealing the strong connection of the quartet throughout the journey. Like an egg, delicacy does not necessarily equate to fragility, although it is often a fine line that the performers must tread.

8pm Saturday 14 July
Adults £12, Concessions/child £7.50

Outdoor Circus Fun

Drop-in workshops and circus skills instruction for all ages outside the big top circus tent.

Come along and have a go at a range of circus skills with support from professional performers and tutors. Who knows – you might discover your’re a natural juggler or acrobat!

11am – 2pm Saturday 14 July and 11am – 2.30pm Sunday 15 July

Oak Circus Community Cabaret

The Oak Circus Centre presents a cabaret show featuring their own students alongside circus professionals. It gives the students, who have varying levels of experience, a chance to perform in public and put together a routine to demonstrate their skills. Seeing students and professionals side by side is a great way to see, and appreciate, just how much hard work goes into creating a seamless and professional show. Performances will include aerial and acrobatic work as well as juggling and manipulation. This show is perfect family entertainment for a Sunday afternoon.

3pm Sunday 15 July
Adult £5, Concession/child £3

Circus Cabaret Lates 

A late night superior spectacular of showmanship, circus, variety, humour and music with renowned and celebrated performers from around the world. Compere Abigail Collins is well known on the cabaret circuit for her multi-talented mix of comedy and circus, not to mention her uncanny ability to push the envelope well past its sticking point. She has guested in late-night cabaret sensation La Clique and performed as far afield as Australia Brazil, Colombia and Japan. Performers include aerial artist Tasha Rushbrooke and Sweden’s Andreas Lindstrom, master of the Chinese Pole. Further acts to be announced.

10pm Friday 13 and Saturday 14 July
Adult £12, concession £7.50

Lord Mayor’s Celebrations

Friday 6th to Sunday 8th July

Friday 5-10pm:  Elephant Parade and Funfair
Opening this year’s Lord Mayor’s Celebrations, five life-sized elephant puppets parade from Gaol Hill to the Circus Big Top in Chapelfield Gardens, leading to a thrilling world of side shows, funfair and live music as the circus comes to town

Saturday 5-7.30pm (approx): The Lord Mayor’s Procession
A cacophony of all things circus, including five life sized elephant puppets, billowing flags, clowns, jugglers, dancers and acrobats, bands and community groups, all winding their way through the streets of Norwich.

Celebrating 250 Years of Circus

CIrcus250 is a year-long nationwide celebration of 250 years of circus.

In 1768 showman, entrepreneur and equestrian rider Philip Astley drew out a circle on an abandoned patch of land near London’s Waterloo and filled it with astounding physical acts. This spectacle was the world’s very first circus.

All over the UK and Ireland there are contemporary and traditional circuses, performances, exhibitions, concerts and events. Norwich (together with Great Yarmouth) is one of six designated ‘Cities of Circus’ that have a long and proud history of ‘the greatest show on earth’.

A little bit of Norwich circus history

Barnum and Bailey’s Circus came to Norwich in 1898 and 1899. They would announce their arrival with a parade through the town. This attracted huge crowds and was a great advertisment for the circus. This picture, which shows a troupe of elephants from Barnum’s Circus benig paraded through Norwich in 1898, inspired this year’s circus celebrations and the creation of five lifesize elephant puppets to lead the Lord Mayor’s Parade.

With thanks to Norfolk Record Office for allowing use of this image.

Pablo Fanque, born William Darby in Norwich in 1796, was one of the most successful circus performers and proprietors ever. Orphaned at an early age, he became an acrobat and performer – he was particularly famous for his oustanding equestrian skills. He became the first black circus owner and his story inspired the Beatles song, For the Benefit of Mr Kite, on the Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album’.

Today there is a blue plaque commemorating him on the John Lewis building in Norwich.

This event has been made possible thanks to funding from Norwich City Council, Arts Council England, Norwich Town Close Estate Charity, Geoffrey Watling Charity, John Jarrold Trust, Goodman Trust, Paul Bassham Charitable Trust, Snelling Charitable Trust, Charles Littlewood Hill Trust and The Ranworth Trust.