Eastbourne and Hastings circus return will be "fabulous"
The “forgotten” art form is ready to delight again as Continental Circus Berlin hits the south coast, with dates in Eastbourne from August 7-16 and then in Hastings from August 18-24.
The brand-new show has been specially created for an exclusive UK tour, with all the thrills delivered in a climate-controlled, socially-distanced theatre-style big top.
For circus co-owner Dr Haze, who is also known to millions as the lead character in the Circus of Horrors, the tour comes as the end of a hugely difficult and frustrating time.
As he says, when the government announced £1.57bn of aid for the arts, there was no mention of circuses: “They forgot all about the circuses. So we organised a peaceful socially-distanced protest outside Downing Street a few weeks ago. All the circuses in the UK combined. We were in our costumes and make-up for a really whacky peaceful demonstration. The police were brilliant. We didn’t cause any trouble and we didn’t intend to. We handed in a letter. We had all the world’s media there. It was fantastic. And the next day we were in every single paper… and then the Chancellor announced he was cutting VAT to five per cent for the leisure industry, but that didn’t help us because we still couldn’t earn anything!”
And then finally the word “circus” was mentioned in a government tweet; and then finally permission came. And Dr Haze can’t wait. Continental Circus Berlin promises an amalgamation of brilliant circus acts, music and youthful energy, incorporating fantastic performers from all over the world, he says.
And it will be perfectly safe. As Dr Haze says, the circus has got genuine advantages over theatres in that respect.
“You have to have blowers blowing cool air around, and when it is not being used, you have to lift up the sides to create the air flow. You have to have sanitised air blowing in while the public are in there, and you have to have extractor fans taking the air out. And the other thing we can do that the theatres can’t is to configure the seats. If somebody books two seats, they will have two seats together. If somebody books four seats, they will have four seats together. We can put people in specific seats according to their booking.
“The big top has got a capacity of 1,350, but we can only hold 550 (with social distancing), and we won’t be anywhere near that because of the way we configure the seats. If everybody came as a group of four, we would be OK, but when you have smaller numbers, that decreases the number you can get in. If we could get 550 every day, we would be fine. The problem is if you get 100 one day and then sold out another. But basically between 400 and 500, we can make a living. And we can employ lots of people who haven’t had employment for months. And we can help the economy. And we can entertain people!
“But it is still a worry. We can still have a local lockdown, and I still think that is possible. But we have made every preparation to make it as safe as we possibly can. But I am still nervous. We are doing all this work and investing all this money, and there is still a chance that it could go wrong. But we are doing everything we can – and it is going to be fabulous to be back!”
Tickets on: www.circusberlin.co.uk; box office 0203 375 3970; ticketmaster 0844 546 5555. Eastbourne dates are at Princes Park, Royal Parade; Hastings dates are at Glyne Gap Field, Bexhill Road.
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