Mr Astley is available to speak...

Mr Philip Astley, late Serjeant-Major in His Majesty's Dragoon Guards, begs leave to inform a loyal public he is now available to recount in person the enthralling history of 'is life as h'equestrian, h'entrepreneur, and h'initiator of a h'entertainment 'e 'as 'ad the pleasure to perform at 'is London h'Amphitheatre; for the Royal Families of Great Britain, France, Belgium, Vienna and Belgrade; also on tour in England, Scotland h'and Ireland. 

Enlivened by h'appropriate contemporary music, and colourfully h'illustrated.

Painstakingly researched to bring a true story vividly to life in this 250th Anniversary Year of the World's First Circus Performance at Ha'penny Hatch, Lambeth, London, on 4th April 1768. 

Suitable for educational h'establishments, studio theatres and private performance.

Modest fee.  Particulars to be had by return upon contact to:

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A life of adventure, passion and community
told from behind the scenes of the circus

I have spent two thirds of my life travelling with circuses, as a ringmaster, manager, publicist...and as a fascinated observer of the circus lifestyle. This website is dedicated to offering and sharing knowledge which leads to understanding.  Welcome...!

Some things I'm sure you will know already, and some will be new to you. I hope you'll stay, as I have done...for life.

The Classic circus is a multi-sensory world, brimming with a unique mix of sights, sounds, and smells.  Its history has many facets.  Its presentation has many styles, including the opportunity provided by some circus companies to witness people and animals working together in partnership

“Damn everything but the circus! ...damn everything that is grim, dull, motionless, unrisking, inward turning, damn everything that won’t get into the circle, that won’t enjoy. That won’t throw its heart into the tension, surprise, fear and delight of the circus, the round world, the full existence...”
— e e cummings


The Centre for Circus Culture (Centre pour la Culture Circassienne / CCC) was founded in 2015 by Chris Barltrop BA (Hons), a circus professional for 40 years. The Centre exists to promote knowledge and understanding of the circus in all its forms as a historic and valuable aspect of popular culture and as a ‘people’s art-form’ across the world. 

The CCC is happy to offer speakers on the history of the circus and the way of life of the circus people, as well as performances illustrating facets of the circus arts.  

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Stories and adventures of Circus life