Circus! Show of Shows – An Exhibition Celebrating 250 Years of Circus

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Circus! Show of Shows – An Exhibition Celebrating 250 Years of Circus

Date(s) - 06/10/2018 - 03/03/2019
All Day

Time and Tide Museum

As part of a nationwide museums partnership with Sheffield Museums Trust and Tyne and Wear Museums, supported by the National Fairground and Circus Archive in Sheffield and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Time and Tide Museum in Great Yarmouth is delighted to be hosting an exhibition celebrating 250 years of Circus in Great Britain.

This exhibition details the origins of Circus from the Ancient Greek ‘Hippodromes’ through to the Great Yarmouth ‘Hippodrome’ of modern day. The exhibition will feature a series of loans from private lenders and objects drawn from the Norfolk Museum Service collections. Many of these pieces have not been displayed in public since they were last used in performances. Key themes explored include Animals in Circus, Women in Circus, Inspiring future circus performers and key local stories to Norfolk including:

  • Pablo Fanque (William Darby), the notable Black Circus owner and Equestrian trainer, who was born in Norwich, a poster advertising his circus was the inspiration for John Lennon when writing the Beatles classic “Being for the benefit of Mr. Kite!”
  • Clown Roma (Animal trainer, Marcus La Touche) who was from Swaffham in Norfolk and travelled with a Hungarian Circus before retiring back to the county with his dog Viscount.
  • The Great Yarmouth Suspension bridge disaster which occurred following a stunt by Nelson the clown who sailed down the river Bure in a washtub pulled by four real geese causing the deaths of 78 people, mostly children.
  • The history of the Great Yarmouth Hippodrome which turns 115 years old this year, among many other stories and images.

A programme of talks and events are planned to run alongside the exhibition including a talk by Professor Vanessa Toulmin from the University of Sheffield who co-curated the exhibition.

Included in museum admission.

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