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Circus Past, Present and Future

Circus Past, Present and Future is project led by New Vic Theatre in Newcastle-under-Lyme, celebrating 250 years of circus in 2018.

circus past, present, future at "the circus village"

Project Dates: 22 February 2018 - 21 April 2018

250 years on from Philip Astley’s invention of circus, NoFit State hosted a circus village in the man’s birthplace of Newcastle-under-Lyme. Organised in partnership with the New Vic Theatre as part of Circus Past, Present and Future, the Ryecroft Circus Village was the perfect setting for the premier of the company’s new creation LEXICON and to kick off a year of circus celebrations throughout the country.

The project also featured a photographic exhibition 'Themes and Stories' by long-time company photographer Mark Robson, and Artists in Residence programme, the CircusWorks youth festival, as well as 'STATE OF', an old school circus convention and conference held between 13 - 18 April.

Three Big Tops. Five companies. One new show. Four works in progress. Three sector focused events.


lexicon: creation and premiere

22 February - 28 March 2018 (World Premiere)

After a period of four years of researching and developing, LEXICON was created during a frosty February in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Check it out here

artists in residence

It was a pleasure to be joined by Bassline Circus, Zaq Andel, Blake’s Circus and Milton Lopes who shared developed their ideas and works during our residency in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Check it out here

the state of play: an old school circus convention

13 – 16 April 2018

In the spirit of Circus 250, performers and practitioners from all generations and circus styles came together to share skills, take part in a curated programme of workshops, masterclasses in techniques new and old, open space training and evenings socials. 


the state of the art: a radical circus conference

17 – 18 April 2018

Designed through consultation with the sector, this gathering brought together makers and thinkers to explore, interrogate, provoke and exchange about the circus we make today.


themes and stories: circus exhibition

28 March - 21 April

Curated by NoFit State long term photographer Mark Robson, our "Themes and Stories" photographic exhibition draws parallels between the early days of circus and the here and now, with a collection of images containing speciality tricks and traditional acts to snapshots from the daily life behind the scenes.

22 February - 28 March 2018
LEXICON Creation

19 - 23 March 2018
Bassline Residency

26 - 30 March 2018
Zaq Andel Residency

28 March 2018
Lexicon World Premiere

28 March - 21 April
Themes and Stories: A circus photography exhibition by Mark Robson

2 – 7 April 2018
CircusWorks Youth Circus Festival

5 - 12 April 2018
Blake's Circus Residency 

13 - 16 April 2018
The State Of Play: Convention 

17 - 18 April 2018
The State Of The Art: Conference  

18 April 
Milton Lopes Residency Showcase

Support the development of a truly creative, diverse and resilient circus sector by donating today:

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project supporters

Created with kind support from funders

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