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Hippodrome Circus will be lit up to mark 250 years since the ‘birth of circus’

PUBLISHED: 16:09 09 January 2018 | UPDATED: 16:20 09 January 2018

The Hippodrome Circus in Great Yarmouth lit up at night to celebrate 250 years of the circus in Britain. Photo: Hippodrome Circus

The Hippodrome Circus in Great Yarmouth lit up at night to celebrate 250 years of the circus in Britain. Photo: Hippodrome Circus

Archant

The birth of the circus will be celebrated across the region as a landmark is set to be lit up.

Built in 1903, the Hippodrome Circus in Great Yarmouth in the country’s only surviving building designed specifically for the circus.

Designed by showman George Gilbert, the seaside circus has become one of the resort’s most loved attractions.

To celebrate 250 years since the birth of the circus as we know it, the Hippodrome will be illuminated on Tuesday night.

Norwich and Great Yarmouth are jointly one of the six ‘Cities of Circus’ during the nationwide CIRCUS250 celebrations.

Producer and director of the Hippodrome’s four annual productions, Jack Jay, said they had ‘big, big plans’ for 2018 and the 250th anniversary of circus.

MORE: Hippodrome Christmas spectacular prepares for final week of shows

He added: “It’s such an important milestone and I can’t think of anywhere better to celebrate it than The Hippodrome Circus. Our Summer Spectacular will be specially written to incorporate both the historical elements of the birth of circus but also the vibrant nature of the current circus world.”

Norwich and Great Yarmouth are jointly one of the six ‘Cities of Circus’ during the nationwide CIRCUS250 celebrations.

The others are Bristol, Blackpool, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Belfast.

In 1768 showman Philip Astley created the world’s first circus – in the form that we know today.

The equestrian and entrepreneur drew out a ring and filled it with astonishing acts – tumblers, horses, acrobats, jugglers and clowns.

The Hippodrome was lit up and the stunning front of the building was adorned with the CIRCUS250 logo designed by Sir Peter Blake.

A spokesman for the Hippodrome said the anniversary comes just after the end of their most successful Christmas season ever.

She added: “It launches a year of exciting circus activity at the Hippodrome including four world class circus productions produced and directed by Jack Jay.”

Artefacts from the Hippdrome’s Circus Museum were loaned to the Time and Tide Museum which is holding a special Circus 250 exhibition.

The ‘ringmaster’ of the Circus250 event, Dea Birkett, described circus as the “original pop-up.”

She added: “Each of our six Cities of Circus demonstrate through their fabulous histories and awe-inspiring current circus, just how enduring and innovative circus is.”

The word ‘circus’ comes from Latin, where it was adapted from the ancient Greek word ‘kirkos’, meaning ‘circular.

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