Zippos Circus returns to Hove tonight (Tuesday 11 August) but in a different location to usual to make it easier for people to keep to the coronavirus social distancing rules.
The circus is due to throw open its doors at 7pm in Hove Park rather than on the Hove Lawns where the circus has traditionally come to town.
In previous years seating capacity was 1,000 people per show but this has been reduced to 400 this year because of the coronavirus.
The show complies with all the familiar covid-19 health and safety measures, according to Zippos, including seating in household or party “bubbles” in the big top, enhanced ventilation and random non-invasive temperature checks for selected visitors.
Staff have personal protective equipment (PPE) and deep cleaning is routine. The wearing of face coverings is voluntary as the audience will all be facing in the same direction.
Martin Burton, the founder and director of Zippos Circus, said: “I cannot tell you how pleased we are to be back on the road again. We have worked tirelessly with the government and public health authorities to get the show back on tour in line with official regulations and guidance and are now confident that we can do so in a covid-secure manner.
“The outdoor nature of the circus and well-ventilated big top plus socially distanced seating and a range of new hygiene and safety measures will all help ensure that Zippos Circus will be a safe place for both our performers and families to enjoy and we look forward to welcoming everybody to our new show.”
Zippos has someone new holding the ring, with veteran ringmaster Norman Barrett, 84, taking a break for this season “due to covid-19.”
In his place, Zippos has its first “ringmistress”, Tracy Jones, who promises to present a fast-moving spectacle like no other as astonishing acrobats and aerialists, comics and daredevil motorcyclists come together for this year’s colourful production.
Among those appearing alongside her are the Brazilian showman Paulo Dos Santos – a multi-talented comic, acrobat and martial artist who stands at just over a metre tall and the Globe of Death, with its team of motorcyclists performing high-velocity stunts.
The line up includes “amazingly elastic” tumblers from Kenya, French funnyman Emilion, knife-throwers from the Czech Republic, foot jugglers from France, a “wheel of death” and an upside-down “skywalk” act.
Hove is the second stop for Zippos Circus which started its tour in Southsea and will be in Blackheath, London, for the August Bank Holiday weekend.
All tickets will be £8.50 tonight, which is the first night, with an upgrade available to the ringside for an extra £3. Doors open at 7pm and tickets must be bought in pairs to help meet social distancing rules.
From tomorrow there is a matinée and a 7pm show. Tickets cost £13 for children aged two to 14 years and £17 for adults. Children under two can attend for free providing they sit on a parent or guardian’s lap.
This article was first published in Brighton and Hove News today.