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Last surviving purpose-built circus will be ‘first theatre in Britain’ to reopen

PUBLISHED: 17:42 29 July 2020

Ringmaster Jack Jay and comedy partner Johnny Mac prepare for showtime at Great Yarmouth's Hippodrome Circus, thought to be the first large theatre venue in Britain to stage a live show since lockdown Picture: Hippodrome Circus

Ringmaster Jack Jay and comedy partner Johnny Mac prepare for showtime at Great Yarmouth's Hippodrome Circus, thought to be the first large theatre venue in Britain to stage a live show since lockdown Picture: Hippodrome Circus

Archant

A circus says it will be the first theatre in Britain to reopen under lockdown easing when it stages a socially distanced performance on Saturday (August 1).

Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis was given a tour of the Hippodrome Circus's new Covid-safe measures ahead of reopening on August 1. Peter Jay said the MP had been a great help in getting their voice heard during the pandemic Picture: Hippodrome CircusGreat Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis was given a tour of the Hippodrome Circus's new Covid-safe measures ahead of reopening on August 1. Peter Jay said the MP had been a great help in getting their voice heard during the pandemic Picture: Hippodrome Circus

Great Yarmouth’s Hippodrome Circus has been waiting for the nod from central Government for weeks, and was ready to spring into action with a Covid-safe show when it was finally given a date to reopen on July 17.

Owner Peter Jay sad he believed it would be the first theatre in Britain to reopen for a live show.

He said: “As soon as we got the go ahead from the government two Fridays ago, I was determined to make it Covid-safe and put on a fabulous show.

“Being a family business we can move quickly and get things to work.”

FLASHBACK: Many of the acts taking part in the opening sequence of the Hippodrome Circus Summer Show at Great Yarmouth. The season is finally getting underway on August 1, 2020, as lockdown is eased Picture: DENISE BRADLEYFLASHBACK: Many of the acts taking part in the opening sequence of the Hippodrome Circus Summer Show at Great Yarmouth. The season is finally getting underway on August 1, 2020, as lockdown is eased Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

MORE: Circus hails ‘heartwarming’ support on what would have been first show of summer season

Ben Jay, company director and general manager, said the 1903-built venue was well-placed to allow for social distancing.

He said: “Our unique building has many aisles and entrances and we soon figured out a way to get and keep it Covid-safe.

“It’s been a lot of work but on Saturday at 2.30pm we shall be the first theatre in the country to open albeit with a 30pc of normal capacity.”

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The Hippodrome has been closed since lockdown in March, meaning Pirates Live was cancelled due to the crisis.

Jack Jay, produced and host, said it was “a shame” to be away for so long, close to five months.

MORE: ‘We’re a resilient bunch’ - Hippodrome owner confident town will bounce back

He said: “There are thousands of local families and holiday makers who the shows bring such joy to.

“It’s been such a shame to be away this long.

FLASHBACK: The show dancers in the water at the Hippodrome Circus Summer Show at Great Yarmouth. After being closed for close to five months people can once again enjoy the water spectacular from August 1, 2020 Picture: DENISE BRADLEYFLASHBACK: The show dancers in the water at the Hippodrome Circus Summer Show at Great Yarmouth. After being closed for close to five months people can once again enjoy the water spectacular from August 1, 2020 Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“But we are so pleased to be back in a safe way.”

Peter Jay added: “It’s been a very trying time for all of the entertainment world.

“We hope that we will give some hope to venues, that there is a way - even in the current climate - to make things work.”

The summer show runs from Saturday August 1 to September 20 and stars Jack Jay and Johnny Mac.

FLASHBACK: The Halloween Spooktacular at the Hippodrome Circus in Great Yarmouth. Bookings are being taken for the 2020 Spooktacular and the circus reopens for summer on August 1 Picture: HippodromeFLASHBACK: The Halloween Spooktacular at the Hippodrome Circus in Great Yarmouth. Bookings are being taken for the 2020 Spooktacular and the circus reopens for summer on August 1 Picture: Hippodrome

The circus has confirmed it will be able to host the unique water spectacle with swimmers, alongside dancers and daring acts.

Ticket prices range from £25 to £12 and can be booked via 01493 738877 or via the website.


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