Roll up! Roll up!

There’s no need to run away to the circus this sum­mer – it’s come home to Nor­wich and Yar­mouth

EDP Norfolk - - Norfolk Circus - cir­cus­nor­wich.co.uk nhct-nor­wich.org

Acav­al­cade of jug­glers, ac­ro­bats, clowns and horse-rid­ers piled into a cir­cle drawn on waste­land in London ex­actly 250 years ago. In a blaze of colour and noise they wowed on­look­ers with their grav­ity-de­fy­ing tricks and stunts. It was the world’s first circus.

Now Nor­wich and Yar­mouth are among six circus cen­tres across Bri­tain cho­sen to cel­e­brate the an­niver­sary.

Yar­mouth has Bri­tain’s only sur­viv­ing to­tal circus build­ing, the 115-year-old Hip­po­drome, and Nor­wich’s circus cre­den­tials in­clude be­ing the birth­place, in 1810, of Bri­tain’s first black circus pro­pri­etor, Pablo Fanque (who also gets a men­tion in Sgt Pep­per’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.)

To­day Nor­wich is also the home of Lost in Trans­la­tion and the Oak Circus Cen­tre. Based in the for­mer me­dieval church of St Miles on Oak Street, the circus com­pa­nies fea­ture per­form­ers and teach­ers from around the world. Co-direc­tor Mas­si­m­il­iano Ros­setti grew up in Rome and be­gan his ca­reer as a street per­former be­fore study­ing at circus schools in Madrid and London.

His own circus school puts to­gether circus shows as well as run­ning classes for adults and chil­dren in dis­ci­plines in­clud­ing trapeze, hula hoop­ing and ac­ro­bat­ics.

And from July 11 to 15, Lost in Trans­la­tion has in­vited per­form­ers and shows from around the world to wow au­di­ences in a big top in Chapelfiel­d Gar­dens, Nor­wich, to cel­e­brate the 250th an­niver­sary of circus.

“From our Nor­wich base we have trav­elled the world to per­form and now we’re bring­ing the circus world to the city,” said Mass­mil­iano.

Lost in Trans­la­tion’s own show The Hog­wal­lops has been per­formed across Eng­land and at the Ed­in­burgh Fringe, Italy and Ire­land, but never be­fore in Nor­wich.

The com­edy ad­ven­tures of a chaotic fam­ily, in­spired by Roald Dahl’s The Twits, are told with heart-stop­ping aerial and floor ac­ro­bat­ics and live mu­sic.

St Miles is one of 18 city cen­tre churches looked after by the Nor­wich His­toric Churches Trust and has had a se­ries of uses in­clud­ing the­atri­cal scenery stor­age, a youth club gym and a science cen­tre, be­fore its soar­ing vault­ing and an­cient walls, dec­o­rated out­side in glo­ri­ous flint flush­work, be­gan ring­ing with all the high fly­ing fun of circus.

Oak Street Circus man­ager Alessan­dra La­caita said: “It’s such an amaz­ing, beau­ti­ful, cre­ative space. Peo­ple love it. It gives good vibes. And of course it’s very high in­side which is per­fect for prac­tis­ing and per­form­ing our shows.”

ABOVE: The Lost In Trans­la­tion Circus Com­pany in their new home, St Michael of Coslany. Mas­si­m­il­iano Ros­setti, Annabel Car­berry, right, Roisin Mor­ris, and Ed­uardo Ric­cia­rdelli, left

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