Giffords Circus brings magic of village show to Selfridges department store

The cast of Giffords Circus winter show which will be delighting shoppers at Selfridges department store in the run up to Christmas

Giffords Circus lollipops at the press preview day of their Selfridges show

A miniture Giffords Circus van and ringmaster at the press preview day of their Selfridges show

One half of Giffords famous juggling duo Bibi previews some of his tricks Selfridges shoppers can expect

The audience is treated to a Christmas song

A Giffords Circus teapot at the press preview day of their Selfridges show

First published in News
Last updated
Stroud News and Journal: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

GIFFORDS Circus has been entertaining families in the Cotswolds for 13 years. Now the owners will share the magic of their village show with shoppers at the iconic London department store Selfridges.

Kate Wilson was given a preview of the show before it hit the shop floor and left understanding why it’s called ‘the greatest show on earth’.

WHEN I think of the circus I think big – I think lions, elephants and acrobats who fly through the air on trapezes spinning and flipping in all different directions.

This is not what I saw when I was invited for a sneak peek preview of Giffords winter show at their headquarters in Bourton-on-Water.

Instead I witnessed something much more traditional that was akin to a 20th century village green performance and yet I was overwhelmed by the wonderful simplicity of the show that kept me laughing throughout.

Toti and Nell Gifford’s vision of a miniature village green circus designed for rural families and farmers, has taken on a new challenge entertaining shoppers at the Oxford Street department store in the run up to Christmas – all be it without the show’s staple feature, it’s animals.

“Even though we can’t use our famous horses in the show we have still tried to bring some of the early 20th century magic back to the department store,” said Toti.

Juggling duo Bibi and Bichu are the only two members of the cast who have done any kind of street performing before so are quite prepared to deal with a crowd who may be more concerned with last minute Christmas shopping rather than the performance.

However, as I watch the pair catch juggling clubs on their heads and balance them on their noses while their fellow cast members perform snippets of songs from the great Russian composers, I am certain that this group of performers will have no problem drawing in the crowds.

The cast is performing a 15-minute show twice every hour, seven days a week on the fourth floor of Selfridges until Christmas Eve. A replica Big Top has been created by the Giffords’ art team to give visitors the feel of being at the circus, rather than a top end department store.

Director Cal McCrystal said that although they would be doing nearly 250 performances every show would be different. And as I left the make-shift Big Top near Folly Farm fully wrapped up in the Giffords magic I found myself wondering if I could catch the next show in London.

Comments (10)

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4:59pm Thu 19 Dec 13

kjag23 says...

Excellent show but extortionately expensive!
Funny how they only pitch up in areas of high wealth?
Should have packed a pick-axe if they were looking to dig for gold
Excellent show but extortionately expensive! Funny how they only pitch up in areas of high wealth? Should have packed a pick-axe if they were looking to dig for gold kjag23
  • Score: -3

4:47pm Fri 20 Dec 13

Salendine says...

Their summer circus performances are brilliant and excellent value. I should think if you shop in Selfridges you can afford a few shekels.
Their summer circus performances are brilliant and excellent value. I should think if you shop in Selfridges you can afford a few shekels. Salendine
  • Score: 2

11:08pm Fri 20 Dec 13

A Stroud Worm says...

No animals in 2013 should be in a circus. A ban on non-domestic animals comes into place in 2 years time and about time too.

Next up, all animals. They are simply not needed.
No animals in 2013 should be in a circus. A ban on non-domestic animals comes into place in 2 years time and about time too. Next up, all animals. They are simply not needed. A Stroud Worm
  • Score: -2

10:40am Sat 21 Dec 13

Salendine says...

Giffords have a couple of fabulous horses and a goose.
Giffords have a couple of fabulous horses and a goose. Salendine
  • Score: 2

5:47pm Sat 21 Dec 13

kjag23 says...

Stroud Worm.
Horses and dogs are domesticated.
I'd rather have them getting the mental and physical stimulation of learning a routine than fat and bored like most dogs are these days.
Stroud Worm. Horses and dogs are domesticated. I'd rather have them getting the mental and physical stimulation of learning a routine than fat and bored like most dogs are these days. kjag23
  • Score: 3

10:35am Sun 22 Dec 13

A Stroud Worm says...

Giffords have the opportunity to join the many successful circus groups that stopped USING animals in the early 90's. Until then I, and many others will not attend their shows.

If I want to see horses, I can go to the races (But don't get me started).
If I want to see geese, I can do to the park.
If I want to see circus acts, I can go to...
Chinese State Circus
Cirque du Soleil
Circus Ferrel
Circus Hilarious
Circus of Horrors
Circus Starr
Cirque Surreal
Foolhardy Folk Circus
Gerry Cottle’s Circus
Happy’s Circus
Jay Miller’s
John Lawson’s Circus
Netherlands National Circus
NoFit State Circus
Russell’s International Circus
Santus Circus
Swamp Circus
Uncle Sam’s American Circus
Paulos Circus Americano

Etc Etc
Giffords have the opportunity to join the many successful circus groups that stopped USING animals in the early 90's. Until then I, and many others will not attend their shows. If I want to see horses, I can go to the races (But don't get me started). If I want to see geese, I can do to the park. If I want to see circus acts, I can go to... Chinese State Circus Cirque du Soleil Circus Ferrel Circus Hilarious Circus of Horrors Circus Starr Cirque Surreal Foolhardy Folk Circus Gerry Cottle’s Circus Happy’s Circus Jay Miller’s John Lawson’s Circus Netherlands National Circus NoFit State Circus Russell’s International Circus Santus Circus Swamp Circus Uncle Sam’s American Circus Paulos Circus Americano Etc Etc A Stroud Worm
  • Score: -2

10:48am Sun 22 Dec 13

Salendine says...

Have you actually been to Giffords circus and seen the horses and how they are looked after? Much better than most riding schools for example. Pampered even. Whilst i share your concern for animals you should check your facts. They are probably having as much fun as the rest of us. Caged tigers and beaten bears they aren't.
Have you actually been to Giffords circus and seen the horses and how they are looked after? Much better than most riding schools for example. Pampered even. Whilst i share your concern for animals you should check your facts. They are probably having as much fun as the rest of us. Caged tigers and beaten bears they aren't. Salendine
  • Score: 3

12:13pm Sun 22 Dec 13

A Stroud Worm says...

They take money for making animals perform. FACT.
I am not willing to watch performing animals FACT.
What is left to check?
They take money for making animals perform. FACT. I am not willing to watch performing animals FACT. What is left to check? A Stroud Worm
  • Score: -4

8:14pm Tue 24 Dec 13

kjag23 says...

Stroud Worm I trust then that you are vegan?
Stroud Worm I trust then that you are vegan? kjag23
  • Score: 0

11:55am Thu 26 Dec 13

A Stroud Worm says...

Yes, well spotted.
Yes, well spotted. A Stroud Worm
  • Score: 0

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