Circus performances in the UK
This comprehensive list details circus performances currently booking throughout the UK. All details are correct at the time of publication but please do check with individual venues to confirm.
If you have a circus-based show you would like listed here, please email email@example.com with full details, a link and an image.
Circus - Past, Present & Future at the V&A
Date: Friday 27 April
6:30pm - 10pm
A collaboration between Roundhouse CircusFest 2018 and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
2018 is Circus250.
In 1768, on an abandoned patch of land in Lambeth, equestrian and entertainment entrepreneur Philip Astley built a round venue and created a variety show of people and horses performing unbelievable acts. A new art form was born, but it’s come a long way since then.
Theatre and Performance Collection at the V&A holds a large number of objects that reveal the history of circus – from clowning and high wire, to menageries and sideshows.
Roundhouse have teamed up to consider what’s next for this ever-popular physical, visual art form.
Join us for an evening of circus at the V&A – take part in hands-on workshops that test your agility, discover rarely seen archives from the V&A collection, and watch a series of live performances and newly commissioned inter-disciplinary acts.
Battersea Circus Garden at Wandsworth Arts Fringe Festival
Dates: May 2018
Join the celebrations for Circus250 at The Big Top in Battersea Circus Garden. A brand new circus venue part of Wandsworth Arts Fringe. The treasure trove of creativity that is WAF bursts into Wandsworth for two weeks in May. Every year, WAF shakes up South West London with an eclectic programme of arts and culture that thrills, moves and inspires audiences from across the city.
See circus at Wandsworth Arts Fringe:
Hoops and Loops: Festival Opening Cabaret – Pitchbend Productions
Dates: 4 May
Wandsworth Arts Fringe favourite Hoops and Loops Circus cabaret is back - presenting exciting and thrilling circus acts, alongside a selection of the best of the entire festival. Don't miss this special opening night in the beautiful big top tent....and prepare to be amazed!
Moonfall - Hikapee Theatre
Dates: 5 – 6 May
Join a princess like no other as she embarks on the biggest journey of her life – to the Moon! This brilliantly comical story-telling performance looks at the relationship of a brother and sister whilst exploring the role of gender stereotypes within children’s theatre, using a rope, a hoop and bags of imagination
Cul de Sac – José Triguero and Gemma Palomar
Dates: 6 May
An absurd and comic duet of circus, Cul de Sac is a series of vignettes portraying the sometimes gentle, sometimes brutal nature of human relationships. Featuring world-class juggling, dance, acrobatics and Chinese pole, performers Gemma Palomar and José Triguero take us through a cycle of love, irritation, pain, euphoria, caress and carelessness as they journey beyond the stereotypical male-female relationship.
Acts from Ethiopian Dreams - Bibi and Bichu
Dates: 6 May
Bibi and Bichu's amazing Ethiopian acrobats present a jaw-dropping mix of contortion, juggling and cloth-spinning. A very special appearance by this amazing company and a surefire family treat.
Circus Garden Family Days – Pitchbend Productions
Dates: 6 - 7 May
Join us for two fun-filled afternoons at the Big Top in the Circus Garden near Clapham Junction. In between fabulous shows presented in the tent, there will be free outdoor workshops, small shows and family fun. Enjoy some of the fab food provided or bring your own.
The Hogwallops - Lost in Translation
Dates: 6 May – 8 May
'The Hogwallops' is a colourful, loud and funny story of the domestic adventures of a chaotic, dysfunctional family of misfits in which thrillingly spectacular circus skills blend seamlessly with physical comedy, clowning, juggling and slapstick.
Knot – Nikki & JD
Dates: 8 May
A chance encounter between two acrobats: a frustrated lover and a jilted dreamer. This is the story of two hearts making sense of imperfection.
Cypher Stories – Simple Cypher
Dates: 10 May
A hip-hop circus mash-up! 'Cypher Stories' uses elements of Hip Hop culture presented in a cabaret style: acts and short pieces of performance by different artists.
Our House – Sadiq Ali & Vandetta Vain
Dates: 11 May
Evocative and provocative,'Our House' is a contemporary circus show that will intrigue your senses while stimulating your mind. Celebrating queer sexuality, cultural heritage and identity in a safe space, bringing together artists from circus, dance, drag and physical theatre.
Unlocked – Caius House
Dates: 12 May
Caius House have been working in partnership with The Garden Circus and their amazing team to develop the young people’s circus skills.
The Forgotten Night – Flying Fantastic
Dates: 12 May
A storm is coming and things will never be quite the same again. A devised, ensemble production by Flying Fantastic exploring text, circus, puppetry and physical theatre.
Dates: 12 May
Astonishing skill and inventiveness on stage: five young and superbly talented artists draw on the parallels between human and animal behaviour in this exceptional and award winning piece. The circus programme highlight!
Offer: 20% off tickets when booking 5 different shows in 1 transaction, 10% off when you book 3 different shows
Underbelly Festival - London Southbank
Dates: 6 April – 12 August
We've been on the Southbank for 10 years this summer and we're celebrating with our biggest programme yet, jam-packed with explosive live entertainment.
Open from April until the end of September, Underbelly Festival Southbank brings the best in live circus, comedy, cabaret and family entertainment to the heart of London. We've got an amazing line-up of shows in an amazing city-centre, pop-up festival world. You can enjoy international street food, after work drinks in one of London's largest outdoor bars and a true festival atmosphere on the banks of the Thames.
Our shows are short (usually only an hour long), sharp and very sweet. And the vast majority of tickets are under £20 making Underbelly Festival your affordable entertainment destination in London this summer.
Come celebrate our 10th birthday, and do summer on Southbank bigger and better!
Opening Gala - 6 April 2018
Circus Abyssinia: Ethiopian Dreams - 6 April - 20 May 2018
Circolombia - 24 May - 14 July 2018
The Very Circusy Caterpillar - 19 May - 1 June 2018
SOAP - 3 May - 17 June 2018
Elixir - 12 - 23 June 2018
Circa’s Peepshow - 27 June - 18 August 2018
Metta’s Little Mermaid - The Circus Sensation - 24 July- 12 August 2018
Lexicon - NoFit State
Venue: NoFit State, Newcastle-under- Lyme
3 May - 14 May, Brighton
26 May — 9 June, Cardiff Bay
As you take your seats, enter an experience like no other. With jaw-dropping performances from a world-class cast, brilliant live music and spectacular action swirling around you - Lexicon will astonish and amaze you.
“The total theatre experience that British circus has been striving for so long” The Guardian
“Take the kids, they'll thank you for years” British Theatre Guide
CIRCUS: Performers, Politics and Pop Culture
Venue: The National Centre for Craft & Design (NCCD)
Date: Saturday 28 April – Sunday 8 July 2018
The National Centre for Craft & Design and artsNK will celebrate the 250th anniversary of Circus in Britain through a major exhibition of live performances, aerial, film, photography and design.
Pushing the boundaries of design and performing arts; traditional and contemporary, the exhibition will explore circus design including posters, pop culture and costume. A programme of live aerial performances including Performer in Residence Claire Crook, will form a major part of the exhibition uniting static and live exhibits in NCCD's Main Gallery for the first time.
The exhibition will discuss Politics; Women in Circus, Equality and Inclusivity. The impact of Circus on pop-culture will be explored through film, literature and pop acts inspired by Circus over the decades.
A Grand Opening event on Saturday 28 April (10am-5pm) kicks off the spectacle with a street parade, live acts, taster sessions, refreshments and so much more.
The gallery will be transformed into a space dedicated to participative performing arts for the duration of the exhibition.
Becky Truman, Skinning the Cat Costumes
Tina Bicât, Ockham's Razor Costumes
Rhiannon Matthews, NoFitState Costumes
Posters from the Richley Archive
Peter Lavery, Circus Work 1968-2018
Liliana Robins, Sweet (2017) Videography
Claire Crook, Performer in Residence
Rio Willett, Performer in Residence
Belly of the Whale – Ockham's Razor
Dates and venues:
Saturday 5 May - Stratford Circus Arts Centre
Saturday 19 & Sunday 20 May - Norfolk & Norwich Festival
Saturday 26 & Sunday 27 May - Lincoln Drill Hall
Saturday 23 - Sunday 24 June - Greenwich+Docklands International Festival
Saturday 30 June & Sunday 1 July - Watford Palace Theatre, Watford
Saturday 8 July - Basingstoke Festival, War Memorial Park
Saturday 4 & Sunday 5 August - Stockton International Riverside Festival
Thursday 9 August - Aberystwyth Arts Centre
Saturday 11 August - The Albany, Deptford
Thurs 16 August - Millfield Theatre, Edmonton, North London
Saturday 26 & Monday 27 August - Lift Off! The opening weekend of Wiltshire Creative – Salisbury
Saturday 8 September - Bell Square, Watermans
Saturday 15 & Sunday 16 September - Out There International Festival of Street Arts, Great Yarmouth
OCKHAM'S RAZOR PREMIERE THEIR NEW OUT-DOOR TOURING SHOW BELLY OF THE WHALE.
Circus meets sculpture in this exciting new out-door show from Ockham’s Razor, winners of the Total Theatre & Jacksons Lane Award for Circus at the Edinburgh Fringe.
The performers, like surfers on a wild sea, ride a giant semi-circular see-saw made of wood and steel which creaks and groans as it transforms from a catapult, a gently rocking cradle, a tunnel, a slide - creating an ever changing land and soundscape.
The concept of the belly of the whale is found in mythology around the world - what happens when we confront our fears and come face to face with the power and momentum of things we seemingly can’t change?
Exhibition - Sawdust and Sequins: The Art of the Circus
Venue: Royal West of England Academy, Bristol
Dates: 24 March - 3 June
A major exhibition of historic and contemporary art that marks the UK's distinct circus heritage and the contemporary circus scene alive in Bristol today.
Since the 1700s, the circus has become a worldwide phenomenon and a rich source of inspiration for artists. The glitter and dare-devilry has hidden a sometimes harsh, itinerant way of life. Across the centuries, circus has evolved to encompass radical new forms of performance and self-expression.
From historical depictions of familiar circus scenes to contemporary works exploring both the glamour and grit, this exhibition surveys the complex, compelling nature of circus.
This exhibition coincides with Circus250 - a nationwide celebration of the 250th anniversary of circus in the UK.
Opening hours: Tuesday–Saturday 10am–5.30pm, Sunday 11am–5pm, CLOSED Mondays
Price: £7.95/ £6.75. Under 16s/SGS, UoB & UWE students: FREE
National Art Pass holders: 50% discount on ticket price
Nikki & JD – Knot
Battersea Circus Garden, Wandsworth
New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich
A chance encounter between two acrobats: a frustrated lover and a jilted dreamer. This is the story of two hearts making sense of perfection.
The Knot is the invisible string that connects two people. Sometimes strong, sometimes just about to break, it is the complex yet simple bond that we juggle with our whole lives.
This piece follows the journey of individuals through the absurdity, joy and mundane experience of making things work. Acrobatics, movement and storytelling combine to expose the hopes we hold for the ideal lover.
Knot is co-commissioned and supported by Jacksons Lane, Déda, Jerwood Choreographic Research Project II, The National Centre for Circus Arts, Arts Council England and Warwick Arts Centre.
Zippos - Cirque Berserk! 2018 tour
Dates and venues:
8 May – 12 May - Theatre Royal, Plymouth
31 May – 2 June - Floral Pavilion, New Brighton
2 June – 4 June - Richmond Theatre, Richmond
7 June – 9 June - King's Theatre, Glasgow
12 June – 16 June - G Live, Guilford
26 June – 1 July - Theatre Royal, Nottingham
26 July – 28 July - Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
29 August – 1 September - Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury
Showcasing the finest in traditional circus thrills and skills, Cirque Berserk! celebrates the 250th anniversary of the invention of Circus by bringing this treasured form of live entertainment in a jaw-dropping spectacular created especially for the theatre.
Combining contemporary cirque-style artistry with adrenaline-fuelled stunt action, this astoundingly talented international troupe includes over thirty jugglers, acrobats, aerialists, dancers, drummers and daredevil stuntmen.
Featuring the world’s most hair-raising circus act – the legendary motorcycle ‘Globe of Death’.
Price: from £15
Imagine Luton – Outdoor Arts Festival, Bedfordshire
Dates: 23 - 24 June 2018
Imagine Luton is an exciting outdoor arts festival bringing the town centre streets to life with amazing circus, dance, theatre and music performances, free for all the family.
This year’s festival will bring all the magic of the circus with our very own Big Top and a host of incredible marvels to take your breath away! Showcasing world-class acts alongside the best of home-grown talent, there is truly something for everyone!
Circus shows include:
The Band - Levantes Dance Theatre
Block – NoFit State Circus and Motionhouse
The Exploded Circus – Mimbre
Strong Lady – Strong Lady Productions
Summer of Circus Festival 2018
Dates: running from Friday 18 May to Sunday 1 July
Venues: across Worthing Theatres
The Exploded Circus: Mimbre, 18-20 May
8 Songs: Gandini Juggling, Friday 22 June
Garbuix: Gavel Circus, 23-24 June
Block: NoFit State Circus & Motionhouse, 27-28 June
He Ain't Heavy: Grania Pickard, 30 June
The Giant Balloon Show, 1 July
Summer of Circus is back in Worthing for the third year running, and this year is particularly special as it marks 250 years of Circus. Join us for the best contemporary circus festival running from Friday 18 May to Sunday 1 July, on the South Coast.
Stunning acrobats, beautiful aerial work, breathtaking flying trapeze, world-class juggling, engaging storytelling with a mix of dance, devised theatre and more. Perfect for contemporary arts enthusiasts and family entertainment.
Price: *Early Bird Offer – £10 tickets for any of our Circus shows ends, midnight 28 February.
Tipping Point – Ockhams Razor
Venue and dates:
Nuffield Southampton Theatres - 25-26 May
Seachange Arts, Great Yarmouth - Saturday 9 June
Tipping Point premiered at The London International Mime Festival, had a successful run at the Edinburgh Festival where it won the Total Theatre & Jacksons Lane Award for Circus and was at The Sydney Festival 2017.
Ockham's Razor mix circus, physical theatre, narrative story-telling and distorted perspectives with original music scores. In Tipping Point five-metre metal poles are hung from the roof, balanced on fingertips, climbed, swung from and walked along as the five performers transform them into into a myriad of walkways, spindles, pillars and pendulums, with a multi-layered surround sound musical landscape, specially composed by Adem Ilhan & Quinta who have previously worked with Radiohead, Hot Chip and Bat For Lashes.
Circa Tsuica - Now or Never
Dates and venues:
21-23 June - Greenhead Park, Huddersfield
28-30 June – Oxford
6-8 July – Poole
30, 31 July and 1 August – Salford
13-15 September – Bangor
29-30 September - Derby
Under a star studded big top a vibrant band of international acrobats and musicians invite you to share in their circus spectacle, Now or Never.
In this haven of fun, eleven musician-acrobats invite young and old to leave their differences at the door, to dream and simply enjoy being together.
Join in the feast as trapeze artists, trick cyclists, acrobats and musicians mingle, make and share pancakes before launching into an exhilarating fanfare of music and circus. And then watch as they fly, fling and swing across their beautiful tent on trapeze, Cyr wheels, trick bicycles, trampolines and seesaws to the thundering sound of brass.
Crazy, colourful and chaotic, Now or Never is an unmissable celebration in park near you. An unforgettable experience to share with family and friends!
Circa Tsuica (http://cheptelaleikoum.com/) is the musical offspring of Cheptel Aleïkoum, a French company known for their innovative and inclusive circus shows.
The members of Cheptel (or ‘livestock’ in English) met over 10 years ago when they were studying at the Centre National des Arts du Cirque. When they are not touring the world, they live together as a community in Saint Agil, a small village in the west of France.
Their name alone is enough to give you an idea of what they’re aiming for: tsuïca is Romanian for brandy, like the party spirit that inhabits their creations. Fusing amazing skills and live music, they create a playground where humour meets jaw-dropping acrobatic tricks. Previously they have toured Europe with Opus 2, Fanfarerie Nationale and Opus 7.
Race Horse Company - Motosikai
23 May - bOing! Festival, Canterbury
22-24 June - Greenwich and Docklands International Festival, London
4-5 August – Stockton International Riverside Festival
Motosikai (moto-seek-eye) is a unique, outdoor show performed around a transit van by Race Horse Company, the renowned Finnish circus artists with a reputation for madcap brilliance. Three daredevil acrobats appear and disappear from the van to perform increasingly absurd and reckless tricks. With great skill and humour they fly off a huge seesaw, tumble with giant bouncing balls, juggle on skis, pogo, throw weights and push themselves to their physical limits. With its boyish clowning, exuberance and daring, Motosikai is a fun street stunt show that leaves its audiences exhilarated.
Greenwich+Docklands International Festival
Date: 27 June - 2 July
Greenwich+Docklands International Festival is London’s leading outdoor theatre and performing arts festival. Founded in 1996, GDIF 2017 featured over 300 performances by dozens of national and international companies with more than 100,000 people attending shows in a range of public spaces in Royal Greenwich and East London. It is the flagship annual event produced by FESTIVAL.ORG, one of the UK’s most ambitious and prolific outdoor arts organisations which also produces the Mayor of London’s Liberty Festival and manages the Global Streets network amongst other projects.
See circus at the Greenwich+Docklands International Festival:
Undaunted - The Bullzini Family
Date: 22 June 2018
Marking the centenary of the Representation of the People Act – which gave some women in the UK the vote for the first time – the UK’s only female high wire walker performs a high-wire walk on a free-standing scaffold positioned between the iconic twin domes of the Old Royal Naval College.
Paying tribute to the courage of all those who campaigned for equality over many decades, this spectacular feat acknowledges the fragility of the status quo and serves as a rallying call to the generations of women still to come.
dip - Max Calaf Sevé
Date: 22 – 24 June2018
Combining highly skilled trampoline acrobatics and live brass, electronic and percussion music; a creation for all ages. Expect light-hearted, breath-taking, air-twists and funky tunes with a good dose of humour.
La Belle Escabelle - Doble Mandoble
Date: 23 - 24 June 2018
This delightfully silly performance by twin brothers Luis and Miguel Córdoba demonstrates the surprising number of ludicrous things a human can do with stepladders. This circus show, winner of the ‘Most Gobsmacking Moment’ at BE Festival in 2013, is full of humour and great fun for the whole family. Not to be tried at home!
Belly of the Whale - Ockham’s Razor
Date: Saturday 23 - Sunday 24 June 2018
Circus meets sculpture in the first outdoor show created by critically acclaimed company Ockham’s Razor, winners of the Total Theatre Award for Circus at Edinburgh Festival in 2016. The performers ride a giant semi-circular see-saw of wood and steel which creaks and groans as it transforms from a catapult, a rocking cradle, or a tunnel to a slide.
PLOCK! – Grensgeval
Date: 23 - 24 June 2018
Camiel splashes, throws, drips and pours paint onto a canvas in his attempt to create a painting in the style of Jackson Pollock. This colourful, acrobatic performance appeals to all the senses. Overalls provided for those in the front row!
RoboPole - UliK Robotik
Date: 23 - 24 June 2018
RoboPole, a dramatic duet between a man and a robot, is a powerful, visual performance that has to be seen to be believed. Watch on in awe as performer Martin Riedel climbs up, hangs off and slides down a rotating, moving robotic pole.
Gibbon - Gandini Juggling
Date: 30 June 2018
This high-energy performance celebrates self-awareness and human behaviour, with a sense of humour and a hint of absurdity, through the spectacular medium of choreographed juggling. Surreal and playful, this production mixes different styles of dance with juggling; an absolute delight for audiences of all ages.
This Is Not For You - Graeae Theatre Company
Date: 30 June - 1 July 2018
Graeae Theatre Company’s epic outdoor production pays moving tribute to Britain’s wounded war veterans and their fight for respect and remembrance. Told with heft, beauty and wry humour, both on the ground and off it, the production has audio description and sign language as integral parts of the production.
This Is Not For You is part of 14-18 NOW, the UK’s official arts programme for the First World War centenary, and Graeae, with the National Centre for Circus Arts, has trained 25 disabled veterans in aerial performance especially for the piece, which is directed by Jenny Sealey.
‘You go past the Cenotaph and the crowd clap you. It’s quite moving. We were waving to the crowd, and this little boy said: “This is not for you survivors. This is for the dead.” It made me feel guilty.’ – A veteran describing his experiences on Remembrance Sunday.
Gandini Juggling - Cascade
Dates: 4-5 August
Venue: Somerset House
Gandini Juggling are trailblazers in their field, fusing contemporary dance and circus in performances that delight and astound. For over two decades they have performed across the globe transforming juggling into a rich and distinctive art-form in its own right. This summer they will bring their exceptional skills to the 55 water jet fountain of the courtyard at Somerset House. Performing within the rise and fall of the water, the 30 jugglers will send balls large and small flying to the rousing sound of brass music played by French acrobat-musicians, Circa Tsuica. As the Gandinis weave patterns in the air, the constant flow of movement and sound will be mesmerising.
Cascade is an unmissable, free, outdoor celebration of life, music and beauty.
As part of Circus Sampler - two free weekends of distinctive contemporary circus, hip hop dance and music.