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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 45 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 performances* of ‘Audacious Mr Astley’, a one-man play awarded five stars at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in which the ‘father of the modern circus’ tells his own story and reveals the personality which started a world-wide art-form and entertainment. We also provide speakers on the history of the circus and the way of life of the circus people.  

Ça nous fait plaisir de vous offrir également  nos services en Français.

  • see the ‘Mr Astley is available…’ page under the Services menu

Stories and adventures of Circus life