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Circus owner hails tribute to Romeiros

PUBLISHED: 10:03 26 March 2010 | UPDATED: 17:12 30 June 2010

Great Yarmouth Hippodrome Circus boss Peter Jay has hailed a new exhibition on the history of circus in the town as a "fitting tribute" to two members of the Brazilian Romeiro Troupe - the star act of his last two shows - who died as a result of an horrific crash earlier this month.

Great Yarmouth Hippodrome Circus boss Peter Jay has hailed a new exhibition on the history of circus in the town as a “fitting tribute” to two members of the Brazilian Romeiro Troupe - the star act of his last two shows - who died as a result of an horrific crash earlier this month.

Rita Decassia Medeiros E Silva, 50, matriarch of the springboard acrobatic troupe, was killed instantly in the smash in Cambridgshire while Driele Romeiro, 19, died later in Addenbrooke's Hospital. Two other members of the act are still being treated in the Cambridge hospital.

The Romeiros' spectacular act features in a DVD on the latest Hippodrome Christmas circus by Cromer film-maker Sir-Susannah Taylor, which visitors will be able to see at the ShowTime - Great Yarmouth's Circus Story exhibition at the town's Time and Tide Museum.

The display, which opens to the public tomorrow and runs until October 31, tells the story from the visit of Cooke's Royal Circus in 1845, when a bizarre advertising stunt for it on the river resulted in 79 spectators dying in a suspension bridge collapse tragedy.

The exhibition pays full homage to the Hippodrome Circus, the last surviving purpose-built circus building in the UK still being used for that purpose, with an array of props, paintings and memorabilia relating to the 1903 listed structure.

Mr Jay has loaned several items, including a ringmaster's outfit and a variety of posters, including one from his 1981 show, the first to revive the Hippodrome's legendary water feature.

Meanwhile, town resident Don Stacey, who owns the biggest circus memorabilia collection in the UK, has offered paintings, prints, posters and props such as a trapeze and a sequined clown costume made by Vicaire, a Paris costume maker.

Pride of place in the exhibition goes to a display by Suffolk artist Katherine Hamilton, who spent two years sketching at the Hippodrome to capture the magic of its circuses in her paintings.

Alison Hall, who has co-ordinated the display, the latest of Time and Tide's temporary exhibitions, said: “The Hippodrome is extraordinary, one of only four such buildings incorporating a sinking ring in the world, and this is a chance to celebrate something unique to Yarmouth.”

And she stressed the circus story went back far earlier than the Hippodrome, with five circus buildings having been built during the second half of the 19th century.

A host of events have been planned in conjunction with the exhibition, including talks on circus history on the last Friday of each month and circus skills workshops during the summer holidays.

Admission to the museum and display costs £4.50, concession £3.80, children £3.30. Open 10am-5pm daily.

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