Florida-based former circus star contacts Yarmouth museum after featuring in exhibition
PUBLISHED: 12:08 31 December 2018
A former circus performer who now lives in Florida was pleasantly surprised to see her face featured in the latest exhibit at a Great Yarmouth museum.
Sue Lenz, formerly Sue Yelding, performed her ‘Suzette mixed bird act’ at the Great Yarmouth Hippodrome in the 1960s and photos of the act have been held in the Time and Tide Museum archives ever since.
As the museum celebrates 250 years of circus in the UK, Mrs Lenz’s act has been brought back to life in its ‘Circus! Show of Shows’ exhibition which is on display until March.
With her image blown up to life-size proportion, she has been adorned with taxidermy birds from Time and Tide’s natural history collection and original Ostrich feathers on loan from the Fossett Family Circus.
So when a friend of the ex-circus star who still lives in the town visited the exhibition, she was amazed to come face to face with Mrs Lenz’s likeness and contacted her friend across the Atlantic.
Mrs Lenz said: “I am thrilled that my image has been used in the exhibition as it is nice to be remembered in my own country - I was just 23-years-old at that time!
“I think the museum did a marvellous job with the feathered headdress. That costume was silver with blue rhinestones and blue and white feathers, and I had another costume the same only in gold with red rhinestones and red and yellow feathers.”
The exhibition’s centrepiece, whose successful circus career continued after her appearances in Great Yarmouth, subsequently got in touch with Time and Tide via Facebook.
She expressed her delight at being part of the show, before sending some additional photographs and information to bring her story up to date.
Philip Miles, the museum’s exhibitions officer, said: “One of the key aims of this Heritage Lottery Grant-funded exhibition was to discover untold local stories of circus.
“With Sue getting in touch out of the blue, it has been great to learn more about the person behind the photograph. It is also fantastic that she has shared additional photographs of her time performing in circus with us.”
The ‘Circus! Show of Shows’ exhibition, including the Sue Yelding display, is running at the Time and Tide Museum until March 3, 2019