Gallery celebrates circus anniversary

Celebrating the history of circus at Blackpools Grundy Art Gallery
Celebrating the history of circus at Blackpools Grundy Art Gallery
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A programme of exhibitions at Blackpool’s Grundy Art Gallery this summer will celebrate 250 years of circus.

The town is one of six Cities of Circus involved in the Circus250 campaign - marking the anniversary of the UK’s first circus show,

The exhibitions open on Saturday, from 2pm to 5pm, with talks from photographers Peter Lavery and Luke Stephenson.

The Grundy shows are part of a season-long programme of special events including spectacular live entertainment, events and exhibitions.

A spokesman said: “Bringing together internationally recognised artists, award-winning photographers, local talent and internationally-significant collections, the Grundy Art Gallery will present a series of exhibitions that explore some of the history, themes, ideas and images associated with circus.”

Among the local highlights of the shows will be Come One, Come All! A Celebration of Blackpool Tower Circus, a collaboration between Blackpool Museum Project and the Grundy Art Gallery, drawing on the Blackpool Tower Circus collection, to explore the acts, the clowns and the audiences of this iconic circus.

And Blackpool-based photographer Claire Griffiths will present The Interval of her #RetiredPerformers Project - a series of images and interviews being captured over 12 months.

The Interval is a snapshot mid-way through the project of some of the stories she has gathered from the chauffeurs, dancers, performers and musicians who were active in Blackpool in, and prior to, the 1970s.

Award-winning photographer Peter Lavery has been capturing circus performers in action around Britain.

Selected from the hundreds of photographs that make up this complete series, his Circus Work 1968-2018 exhibition highlights connections and links to Blackpool’s circus history and includes previously unseen work specially chosen for the presentation at Grundy Art Gallery.

Life as a Circus: Sir Peter Blake comprises two sculptures that were originally commissioned by Blackpool Council and presented as part of The Great Promenade Show.