Off to the Circus!

It’s that time of year, late summer when we think we have run out of time to see them but manage to get our acts together and get tickets at the last minute… for GIFFORDS CIRCUS ‘Raaaaayyy!!!Giffords-circus-vanI arrived early so that I could draw one of the vintage vans that Giffords travel in around the Cotswolds and the South West. If the weather is fine, it’s nice to arrive early and have a picnic and then you are sure to get good seats in the main tent.


I managed to do a quick drawing with my brush pen of the circus ring whilst Tweedy the clown warmed us up chatting and giving all the children high fives whilst taking his pet iron Keef for a walk, but I was soon totally absorbed in the show- mesmerised. I only managed to take a couple of photographs because I kept forgetting – too busy laughing my head off or gasping in wonder.


This circus is what a circus should be. Nell and Toti Gifford have made a little gem here, a small troupe of world quality performers touring village greens and bringing a sense of magic with them. Cal McCrystal directs a loose story through which are woven scenes of slapstick, daredevilment, acrobatic feats, more slapstick, amazing juggling, horse riding, dancing and more…

I love everything about this Circus. The live band play each show as if they are jamming together for the pure pleasure of it. Tweedy is one of the most charismatic performers I have ever seen, his grasp of physical comedy is brilliant, his timing perfect and his rapport with the audience perfectly pitched. The jugglers Bibi and Bichu are handsome, skillful and endlessly inventive. All the other performers – from the raffish ringmaster to the athletic acrobats manage to look like they are having the best time of their lives and the most fun together – an amazing feat considering that they have been doing up to three shows a day since May.


I collect the mini programme booklet each year and  save it in a pocket in my journal (made from the photo of the dancers in the moon).


I’m not sure if you can read my writing so I will just point out (ahem) that a little girl who sat beside me watching me draw said in awe of my sketches ” They look just like pictures in a book” and I was thrilled by her praise. This was my favourite part of the show … Only joking!! My favourite part of the show was Tweedy being SHOT OUT OF A CANNON!!!

Until next year. (We are definitely eating at the gourmet travelling restaurant next time.)


6 thoughts on “Off to the Circus!

  1. Giffords are the absolute best! Good hearted, funny, creative, brilliantly talented, and I love the way the shows are built around a story. I’m very impressed you’ve managed to sketch there. I’ll try harder next time… Ed


  2. What a wonderful blog! And the heck with the acts. I’d be overjoyed just to get to see those wonderful old traveling vans and caravans!!


    1. Thank you for visiting J. The vans are certainly attractive, I am now even more impressed with France Bellville van Stone’s drawings of vehicles – with something mechanical, accuracy of observation really matters


Tell me what you thought of that.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s