ROLL up, roll up! The Billy Smarts Circus is in town.
The circus, one of the most famous in Britain, has pitched its Big Top on the Heath for a string of performances from tonight, February 26 to March 2.
The 11-show spectacular will see acts from around the world entertaining the masses with a mix of acrobatics, comedy, juggling, illusion and aerial feats.
Billy Smart’s Circus, a household name in the 20th century, has an extra special ringmaster joining them for this year’s season.
The shows will be hosted Yasmine Smart, granddaughter of the company’s founder, Billy.
The Guardian visited Yasmine at the Big Top on the Heath ahead of tonight’s debut.
She said: “It feels right to be back with Billy Smarts Circus. We have a knock-out group of artists from all over the world – Japan, Argentina, Australia, Romania, and Russia.
“It’s not a copy of my grandfather’s show – that’s not possible anymore – but we have a really, big quality show with a live orchestra.”
Billy Smart founded his circus in 1946 and over the following decades, it became a household name largely through its T.V appearances.
The first colour programme to be transmitted by the BBC was the Bank Holiday edition of the circus and high audience ratings helped earn the circus a ‘Silver Camera Award.’
The circus made a return to touring in 2013 under the direction of Tony Hopkins and has been going from strength to strength ever since.
Artists featured in this year’s show include the Flying Aces, five Australian flying trapeze artists; the Assadulin Troupe from Russia, who will be bring their Springboard and Russian Bar act to the U.K. for the first time; and Alina Eskina, an aerial star.
They will be joined by the Extreme Brothers acrobatic trio from Romania; Jonny Bogino, an Italian clown; foot-juggling Germaine Delbosq, and a live band.
Yasmine, who first became a ringmaster aged 14 and has performed for the Queen, said: “The circus is probably the only form of entertainment that goes with the audience. People want to see live entertainment.
“The show is for the public – that is what we work for – to give them enjoyment and leave you lifted. So if you want to see magic, come and see us.”
Book tickets by visiting billy-smarts-circus.co.uk or call the ticket line on 0113 260 2444.