Bright and early on Wednesday morning, April 18th, I made my way from London to Newcastle-Under-Lyme, a small town in Staffordshire county, England, for a conference organized by NoFit State Circus.
The location of this conference was not accidental. Newcastle-Under-Lyme is the birthplace of Philip Astley, who is considered by scholars to be the father of circus as we know it today. Born in 1742, Astley was a soldier and a trick rider who revolutionized his field – and planted the seeds to ours – when he first performed his riding tricks in the round, using the centrifugal force of the ring to his advantage, thus allowing generations of riders to find better balance on their horse’s back. His first use of the ring dates back to 1768, making 2018 the 250th anniversary of his important contribution to circus artists centuries later. This year, the UK is celebrating this anniversary with events galore, mostly under the umbrella of Circus250. The event, titled “The State of the Art: a Radical Circus Conference,” brought together circus practi...
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