Roll up, roll up, the circus is in town!

Stroud News and Journal: Acrobats from Giffords Circus performing in Merrywalks Shopping Centre with volunteer Gracie Macintosh, three Acrobats from Giffords Circus performing in Merrywalks Shopping Centre with volunteer Gracie Macintosh, three

 ACROBATS from Gloucestershire's famous Giffords Circus wowed passers-by at Merrywalks Shopping Centre in Stroud to promote their new series of shows starting this week.

Crowds watched in wonder on Friday morning, August 10, as the loose-limbed entertainers offered a tantalising glimpse of what to expect from the performances, which began on Minchinhampton Common on Thursday, August 9 and runs until Tuesday, August 21, with a number of shows taking place daily. Circus founders Toti and Nell Gifford and their troupe of clowns, birds, children, ponies, musicians, tap dancers, gymnasts and poets have pitched their big top tent and collection of classic caravans for a new show celebrating 'the glamour of all things unusual.' Entitled The Saturday Book, the performance features an assortment of acts, comedy and music, with appearances from old favourites Tweedy the clown and Bibi and Bichu the jugglers. New acts for this year include the Ukrainian Balancing Boys, Francois the tightrope walker and Jan Soencksen with his amazing comedy dogs.

Mini pony Tiny Tom and Brian the goose will also make an appearance, as will Nancy Trotter with her breathtaking dove flight act.

The inspiration behind this year's vintage variety show is an eccentric annual published between the 1940s and the 1970s called The Saturday Book. The curiously titled manual was a witty collection of Victorian-themed essays, photographs, pictures and poems, whose makers frequently featured photographs of pinups and stars from the golden era of Music Hall. Thoroughly English, with a love of the exotic, it was a celebration of all things odd, offbeat, quirky and unusual. To book tickets call the box office on 0845 459 7469 or visit www.giffordscircus.com

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