My Night at the Chinese State Circus

As a young adult, the circus hasn’t really appealed to me since the age of 5. My faintest memories of the circus often involve big clowns on small bikes and even a clown riding an elephant. To a child, bright lights, and funny noises was entertaining but now as an adult, it is concerning especially due from an animal cruelty perspective so I was obviously a little bit apprehensive when I received an invite to attend the Chinese State Circus in Edinburgh.

However, with me being assured there were no animals involved with the circus, I decided to attend my first ever circus show in about 18 years  filled with a sense of intrigue, curiosity and excitement.

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As soon as I got out the car my excitement continued to grow, friends, families, lovers, old, young, so many different groups of people of all different backgrounds were arriving and clearly excited for the show which seemingly rubbed off on me. I mean I’ve been in a lot of tents but never a tent this colourful or this size!

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When I got inside the tent, I realised I was super early and there was a pop-up bar hosted by local gin brand (Minus) -33 dishing out the drinks. I mean, I’m a good guy, I do like to promote my local brands so it would be rude not to have a G&T with Elderflower… or 5!

I received a goodie bag with a Chinese State Circus book inside, a bag of popcorn and my pass for the evening. Since I hadn’t eaten all day, my hunger got the better of me and the popcorn was finished before anyone could take a picture. However, now with a belly full of popcorn, I managed to relax and read my new book…

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and make some new friends…

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After partaking in some pre-show shenanigans, I went off to take my seat still unsure about what to expect – but the G&T’s definitely loosened me up! But it wasn’t long before I was captivated by what was going on in front of my eyes.

There was a girl juggling parasols using her feet, a team of people juggling hats and doing tricks all in perfect synchronicity, Shaolin Warriors that terrify and entertain in equal measure, men somersaulting through small hoops at a ridiculous height and so much more.

By this point, I was hooked but sadly an interval was called so I made the most of my break and treated myself to some traditional circus food – Candy floss! I even topped up my glass of G&T whilst mingling with the other guests. Everyone I spoke to was on the same wavelength as me – unsure to begin with but completely sold on the show and the performance.

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It wasn’t long until I was being ushered back to my seat and prepare myself for Part 2 of the show. The show got even better in the second half where a female team was foot juggling with drums and a Bicycle act that featured a lot of girls and a lot of bikes that completely blew me away, the way they interchanged bikes and positions and on such a  small stage, performed with so much elegance. Truly amazing!

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Then came the headline act, at this part I started to wonder  “how else could this get better?” I mean what more could they physically do? The final act went above and beyond. Two people in a big, rotating, metal cylinder would entertain me enough. However, when they started to climb on to the outside, start skipping and doing flips it very nearly gave me a panic attack, It was definitely one of the most incredible things I have ever witnessed!IMG_0597.JPG

WHAT A NIGHT! A circus, something I had viewed negatively for many a year has given me an incredible night and has truly changed my perception on circuses. The circus is currently still performing dates around the UK, with tickets still available here. I fully recommend that you at least try and get along to a show and you will definitely not be disappointed. In case my words aren’t enough, check out the trailer for the Dynasty Tour yourself.

After a wonderful night, I want to thank Phil MacHugh at Skapa PR for the invite and for being a great host and also my friend & Foe-tographer Sophie Grosvenor for the pictures – where you can catch some of her other pictures here.

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Jay Carrington

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