Circus News

Black Performers of the Nineteenth Century Circus

As we move into Black History Month we should be celebrating the lives of black performers of the nineteenth century British circus. The circus has always been, and still is, inclusive by nature. The ‘modern’ circus, founded by Philip Astley over 250 years ago, was underpinned by a wealth of talented black performers involved. Some became famous in their own right, and were very much in the public eye. Some were just a single named reference in an advertisement, and others were just mentioned by their ethnicity. What has to be remembered, applauded, and celebrated is that in the circuses, music halls, and other performance venues of the Victorian era, black artistes were a very real presence…

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