Will Circus’ Story End, or Just Turn the Page? - CircusTalk

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Will Circus’ Story End, or Just Turn the Page?

The Circus Isn’t Coming to Town

Recently, Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey Circus announced they will be shutting down their traveling circus this year. Their two touring shows, Circus XTREME and Out of This World, will conclude their final tours in May. While this may be the most obvious sign of the changing face of the circus, it is hardly the first.

Ringling Bros. is the best-known circus in the world. Its history dates back to 1870 when the self-styled showman Phineas Taylor “P.T.” Barnum partnered with an existing circus to form P.T. Barnum’s Grand Traveling Museum, Menagerie, Caravan, and Hippodrome. The company underwent many changes during their time, but their long history as a touring show has been a mainstay.

Smaller circus shows have not been immune to troubles. Last July, Big Apple Circus announced they were filing for Chapter 11 and canceled their 2016 and 2017 tours. They are auctioning all their assets and intellectual property this February. The Cole Bros. Circus, which has origins dating back to 1870, also closed down last year.

Any businesses that fails to adapt to changing times can suffer; so what do these recently failed circuses tell us has changed?

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