It’s been quiet a while since I’ve been at a circus, and to hear there was such a thing as a ‘Non Animal’ one was really a pleasant surprise. To get to photograph it was just the cherry on the cake. The Circus evokes memories of exotic Animals, Horses and performing Seals for many, but for me it was something very personal, entertaining and exhilarating all at the same time. I loved it, and in many ways still do. But I always thought they never needed the animals, especially as they had the wonderful Trapeze and a little fella being fired from a Cannon. Sizism aside.
My intentions this week were very simple. What I wanted to do, was something very few people have done, and it was to get behind the scenes and capture the process of construction or rehearsing. I wanted to capture what made a Circus a Circus. But what I was to find was something very surprising, and very different.
The Glamorous Character of any Circus, is the Clown with the red nose and the Bushy hair. He sadly, is gone. He has been replaced by a thing with the political correctness of a modern BBC sitcom. He has morphed in to a nice chap with lucky bag make up, and his own hair, but here we can’t blame the Circus. IT the movie, and other scary late night adventures of odd men and women dressed as clowns and knocking on people’s doors, has brought fear in to the minds of the general public. The PC squad have arrived in very large numbers, and there’s no blocking the door. There in.
Behind the scenes, the background construction to the modern Big Top was a mix of hard hats and high vis jackets, a million miles away from the badly structured construction laws and bylaws of the unregulated past, but this is a good thing.
As is the performers with their new tight contracts and the independence which comes with people being able to work for other people. In fact, although the numbers are down in general, there is massive room for improvement which is great news for those involved, and will no doubt come after these businesses diversify from Animal central to people led.
The one thing which was apparent, which was surprising to be honest, was the level of professionalism in the entertainers. They all had their own acts, and they moulded them to suite the country, or the culture they were performing in front of.
There was food too and some things for the kids, plus the fact you are now much closer to the action as there are no wild animals left to eat anyone. All in all I think if they keep the faith with the new regulations, focus on the new forms of entertainment around, maybe make some of the acts interactive, there is a chance the old Circus, the Big Top of our youth, might still survive, in some form or other. And what harm says you, once they leave the Animals in the Wild….