GANDEYS Circus is back in Knutsford, and as ringmaster Ryan Brown says, ‘you have to see it to believe it’.

The historic circus was one of the first live entertainment events in the country to welcome back audiences on Monday.

Gandeys’ performances in the town date back more than 100 years and it has erected its famous big top on the Big Heath, with shows running until Sunday.

It has been quite the year for Europe's largest touring big top show, with the pandemic having a unprecedented impact on all live events across the globe.

Binky Beamont, tour director at Exchange Events (Gandeys trading company) said: “There’s no where else we would have rather opened.

“Our team has worked to establish new coronavirus rules for events that have been working across the country and this is something we’re very proud to have been a part of.

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“The Gandeys family has worked extremely hard with all our teams and artistes to ensure we can open up a new covid compliant production in our home of Knutsford, and we can’t wait to welcome everyone back to ‘your circus’.”

The company had the added bonus of being awarded a significant grant from the Arts Council, which came as a massive boost at just the right time.

Binky explained: "We were lucky enough, along with the English National Opera and Royal Ballet, to be one of 30 companies to be given a grant.

"That shows just how important they consider us to be.

"We are the largest touring entertainment organisation in the UK for events like this and we generally have productions all over the world.

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"Thankfully we're in a position now where we can get things started and we will be one of the first live shows to do so in the country."

Gandeys has been awarded the VisitEngland ‘We’re Good to Go’ industry charter mark.

This verifies that the venue meets the Government and public health guidance on Covid-19 and has all the required health and safety processes in place to ensure people have a safe and enjoyable visit.

In public areas, guests must wear face masks but these can be taken off once they are in their seats ready to enjoy the show.

Coronavirus restrictions mean ticket numbers are limited, so only 350 out of 1,000 seats will be filled.

There will also be temperature checks on the door, hand sanitisers, a one way system, no audience interaction and thorough cleaning of the venue after every performance to keep people safe and put their minds at ease.

But ringmaster Ryan Brown is keen to reassure people that the restrictions will not impact the excitement of the show and everyone is ready to bring their all following months out of the ring.

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“In terms of the show, it’s the same Gandeys show with the same Gandeys quality,” he said.

“It’s been running for more than 100 years now, and we’ve still flown in artists from all over the world but they’ve quarantined and been following all the restrictions.

“It’s been a challenge in that respect.

“But we’re taking our time with everything because it’s been so long since the last time, and we’re making sure it’s all done right.

“Everyone in the show doesn’t just do their own act, they also do the put up and put down of the tent and other roles too – it’s not just a job, it’s a lifestyle.”

And there are no animals here.

It’s all about the thrill and the talents of the humans on show, and their skills coming together to create a unique experience for each audience.

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Each performance includes world-class performers, innovative, unique acts and state-of-the-art sound, lighting and costumes.

“Every show is different because every audience is different,” Ryan explained..

“That’s why every show has to be 110 per cent.”

Although there are many Gandeys performers who were born into the world of the circus, for Ryan, he started in the sector three years ago – and said he 'literally ran away with the circus'.

“I was trained as a dancer and I had a job as a guest ringmaster,” he said.

“And three years later I’m still here.

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“If people don’t know what a ringmaster is, it’s the 'Hugh Jackman' character in The Greatest Showman.

“I just fell in love with the circus.

“I will never be able to convey in words what goes on in the tent, even things like the smell of the popcorn and the sounds of the show.

“There is a magic to the circus and you really do have to see it to believe it.”