Belong Newcastle-under-Lyme is continuing circus-themed celebrations for the 850th anniversary of the borough.
The Belong Heritage Gallery, situated in the town’s oldest building and part of the care village development, hosted a talk about Philip Astley, the father of modern circus, by multi-skilled circus performer, illusionist and historian Andrew van Buren.
Andrew, who comes from generations of circus performers, spoke about the life and achievements of the circus pioneer before taking questions from the audience. He also put guests’ coordination and motor skills to the test by teaching them how to spin plates.
Residents of the care village have taken their enthusiasm for the circus a step further by visiting the ‘Show People of North Staffordshire’ exhibition, which documents the contribution of the circus and fairgrounds to the history of the region, at Appetite Newcastle Common.
The Belong Heritage Gallery also houses an exhibition celebrating the local area’s connections with the origins of the circus, featuring memorabilia and artefacts from bygone eras of circus entertainment, including Harry Houdini-era handcuffs and promotions for tours in Newcastle and around the world from the past century.
Emma Palin, Heritage and Experience Coordinator at Belong Newcastle-under-Lyme, said: “The circus-themed activities have really captured residents’ imaginations. Events such as these play an important part in celebrating local history and connecting us to our past, which helps us to better understand who we are.”