All the Fun of Giffords Circus – Giffords Circus isn’t just any old circus – it’s SO much more! The most beautiful, enchanting circus I have ever seen.. and I’ve been to a few in the world!
Started 19 years ago by Toti and the late Nell Gifford – it’s a traditional British village circus, blended with extraordinary acts from all over the world. This year’s show is Les Enfants du Paradis, taking inspiration from French Romanticism in the mid-19th Century. I found the show to be wild and wonderful; gone are the tacky circus clowns: hello to amazing athletes and performers creating a magical and exciting atmosphere.
Giffords Circus has entertained over a million people so far and worked with some extraordinary circus performers and creative geniuses: Attila the Hungarian horseman from the Great Hungarian Plain; Ethiopian jugglers and longtime friends of the family Bibi and Bichu; Tweedy the clown; The Donnert Family and their team of jockey riders flipping from horse to horse; Gabor Vosteen who played Mozart on five recorders, three in his mouth, one in each nostril; lovely Liverpudlian Michael Fletcher who stole the show as swinging 7’s ringmaster in Xanadu; the ethereal and inimitable clown Nancy Trotter Landry; Molly Molloy, the choreographer who redefines Burlesque; eccentric dancer Barry Grantham; the amazing Angela de Castro and of course the comedy genius that is Cal McCrystal. My favourite at Chiswick House was Antony Cesar performing on his aerial straps.
It also has a travelling restaurant, Circus Sauce, headed by chef Ols Halas. Circus Sauce is Giffords Circus’s unique, travelling licensed restaurant which opens for dinner in the evening. It has a weekly changing menu of three courses costing £50 for adults and £30 for children. It’s held in a beautifully decorated tent, on-site, for circus goers to satisfy their appetites after all the fun of the performances!
If you’re not having dinner, then there are circus wagons and tents in front of the big top where you will find all kinds of delights. In the main tent, you will be able to buy cans of water and drinks, sweets, freshly spun pink candyfloss and popcorn. In the cafe wagon, they serve delicious food such as loaded fries, veg tempura, pulled pork burgers with rhubarb and hot dogs, also tea and coffee. New for 2023 they have a French-style bistro serving steak frites, tartiflette and other French-inspired dishes.
Nell Gifford discovered she had breast cancer in 2015, and in 2019 before she passed away made this poignant film sharing her very personal experience of living a creative and inspiring life with cancer. See link here
The film illustrates Nell’s life as a mother, circus doyenne, horsewoman, entrepreneur, cancer sufferer, and all that it entails. ‘Nell Gifford: Behind the Curtain’ contains archive footage of Giffords Circus and candid interviews with Nell Gifford, all expertly chronicled and produced by Gem Hall.
Giffords Circus 2023 is touring the country, so check out the dates on the link here and, if you’re lucky enough, you might be able to catch it on your holidays.