Audacious Mr Astley

Centre for Circus Culture

31st Jul 2019 - 25th Aug 2019

The Cellar - Pleasance Courtyard



Meet the man who invented circuses!

From cavalry hero to circus founder, Sergeant-Major Philip Astley is the real Greatest Showman, telling first-hand of the dawn and spread of circus from simple beginnings in London 250 years ago when he and his wife presented their trick-riding on an open field, then took their new entertainment to the royal courts of Europe.

Actor and respected professional ringmaster Chris Barltrop's very lively one-man play, meticulously researched. A unique view of popular culture in the making from inside the circus community.

***** (


Age Guideline: 8+ 

Open/closeReviews and Quotations

'...a fascinating story told in an engaging style...A delightful hour in the company of a fascinating man'
5 stars
Suzanne Hawkes

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