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Send in the clowns: Gandey’s preparing for UK’s first post-lockdown circus performance

Gandeys Circus is preparing to open one of if not the first of the UK’s first post-lockdown productions – and has chosen the local area to present its spectacular show.

Brereton-based, world-renowned circus Gandeys will be back under the big top next month for the first circus performance in the UK since lockdown started.

Performers at Europe’s largest touring circus are preparing themselves for their opening show for 2021 on the The Big Heath, Knutsford, from Monday 17th to Sunday, 23rd May.

The company that started as a circus over 100 years ago and has even hosted the after-show for the Brit Awards, is now recognised as one of the largest production companies in the UK.

Directors of Gandeys Circus Carol and Phillip Gandey told the Chronicle: “Cheshire has been our home for over 100 years. To be given the light at the end of the tunnel to allow us to open in our hometown is the highlight of a very difficult 12 months for everyone in entertainment.

“We can’t wait, from our family to yours, to bring your circus to Cheshire.”

Gandey World Class Productions create, produce and tour many well-known shows across the globe including the Ladyboys Of Bangkok, the Great Circus of Europe, the Chinese State Circus, Spirit Of The Horse and Cirque Surreal.

Tour director Binky Beaumont said: “We do all the three summer season circus productions for Butlins, the after-show party at the Brit Awards, Gandeys Circus, Ladyboys of Bangkok, Chinese State Circus, Cirque-Surreal that goes to Hong-Kong, Dubai, Oman and Singapore – all these events that start as an idea in our offices in Congleton!

“We’re a real local success story, promoting this area nationally and across Europe. We’re based in Dane Mill in Congleton and employ about 50 people.”

He said the company was delighted to have received a “substantial” grant from the UK Arts Council to help its productions open again, alongside 30 other companies including the English national opera.

He said Gandeys had worked “tirelessly” to help assist in the industry’s recovery, feeding information to the Government via the department for digital, culture, media and sport, the department that has allowed events and leisure activities to start re-opening.

Since it was founded in over 100 years ago, Gandey’s has been on the road every year entertaining circus lovers – until last year, when the pandemic struck.

Phillip Gandey is the third generation of Gandey’s Circus and became Europe’s youngest ever circus director at the age of 17, in 1971.

Gandeys productions usually employ up to 400 people across the world over the summer, on top of its Congleton based staff members.

The circus has been awarded the VisitEngland We’re Good to Go industry charter mark. This verifies that its venue meets the Government and public health guidance on covid-19 and that it has all the required health and safety processes in place.

Book tickets for the Knutsford show on gandeyscircus.com  

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