The notion of the circus is perhaps not most pertinent to our current cultural memory, however Giffords circus suggests to question this in amazing British luxury. An organic and fresh experience, all the grandeur shown by giants Cirque de soleil is still transmitted through this little top, with matched altitudes of grace. From dream to living reality, the first show to sell out at Hay on Wye festival realised Nell Gifford’s childhood imaginations, as the Giffords Circus tour today nears the one million attendees mark, with families, farmers and film stars amongst their fans. The large family that is Giffords Circus today, parades a new show out onto the roads of England every summer, and it has to be seen!
Being insular and intimate, Giffords Circus shows are complete narratives and not just fleeting moments of magic. They tour the towns and villages of the South West during the summer months with a foray into the capital at Chiswick House & Garden. Whilst still carrying the enchanting escapism that drew so many to the unique experience of the Circus from years past, this travelling parade pose a refreshingly modern and bespoke vision for the pastime. Stating ‘our costumes are handmade; our animals are trained by us and our sets are painted in the barns on our farm.’ A humbling tale, everything from a Hungarian horseman to a man that can play Mozart on five recorders (at once) can be found here. Traveling from Paris to Moscow and everywhere in-between, a global talent search has equipped Giffords Circus with a certain mastery of skill which ensues surprise at every turn.
We burn midnight oil to conjure new visions for the show. It’s all we do. Circus is our job, our life, our love.
Directed by Cal McCrystal who superbly worked on Paddington 1 (and now continues with 2!) and One Man Two Guvnors, the company is lead by this integral member of the troop through a three-week rehearsal period at their farm in the Cotswolds. This year they warn, we are all invited to attend the Spanish court of King Philip IV in the 17th century, with the paintings of Diego Velasquez proving large inspiration. Teasing ‘a Giffors storm is brewing’ this 2017 tour runs from the 12th of May until the 24th of September. With promise of a thrilling candle-lit international gymnastic show, featuring dancing horses, a live band and the promiscuous ever-present king of mis-rule Tweedy the clown, from decor to display the Spanish court is ready to storm. Neil Gifford, co-founder of Giffords Circus expresses, “We love the feeling of anticipation and enjoy the flood of creativity that emerges as we prepare for a new tour. Each year we push ourselves to go bigger and better than ever before and this year is no different!”
In pure bohemian and avant-garde charm, these shows, being the affairs of well-produced passions, provide true lost entertainment to many across Britain this summer. From the Mustache Brothers to the Cuban Acrobatic Sol Troupe, a show of spectacle awaits and doesn’t stop when the lights go down. The Circus Sauce is a dining experience like no other, being a 60-cover travelling restaurant tagging along peacefully in tow of the show. The kitchen arriving only in the most show stopping of ways, two magnificent showman’s wagons pull up, hosting communal oak tables where everyone dines and shares stories together, for one night only. As always with the Giffords Circus ethos, supporting local actions is at the forefront of concept, and so seasonal produce is sourced from the surrounding area to comprise a set 3-course menu which changes weekly. All to be eaten against the backdrop of the big top, extravagance is met with unparalleled experience, gifted from the Giffords Circus family, to you.
Giffords Circus runs from May 12th – September 24th.
Find out where you can see Giffords Circus this summer by visiting here.
All images can be found here on Gifford Circus’s website.