Circus 1903

Circus 1903 - photo by Jim LeeIn a world premiere event, the producers of the biggest selling magic show in the world (The Illusionists) have teamed up with the award winning puppeteers of War Horse to present a thrilling turn of the century circus spectacular with all the thrill and daredevil entertainment one would expect from the circus, with an exciting new twist.

Boasting a huge cast of the most unique, amazing and dangerous acts from all four corners of the globe, from strong men to contortionists, acrobats to musicians, knife throwers, high wire and much more, Circus 1903, promises to take audiences of all ages to the mesmerising golden age of circus.

Thanks to sensational puppetry on a never seen before scale, Circus 1903 puts Elephants back in the ring by introducing the largest ever performing African elephant and her baby to international stages. The award-winning team of puppeteers and model makers who created the National Theatre’s War Horse will design, build and bring to life these two stunningly beautiful elephants to the stage.

These puppets feature groundbreaking advances in design and expression – the giant mother, Queenie and her calf, Karanga will feature throughout the show as the mother teachers her baby to perform in the circus.

Circus 1903 brings together the very best traditional circus performers from all around the world. Acts will include – a cycle artist from Germany; juggling from France; rola bola from Russia; hand to hand acrobatics from the Ukraine; an high wire act from Mexico; and a knife thrower from Brazil.

The producers, Simon Painter and Tim Lawson, have created Le Grand Cirque, Le Noir, Cirque Adrenaline and The Illusionists in over 250 cities from London to Sydney to Broadway, as well as presenting A Chorus Line, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Fiddler on the Roof through Australia. Following the world premiere season in Australia Circus 1903 transfers directly to Los Angeles and New York.

Circus 1903 is designed by scenic artist Todd Ivins and set in an extraordinary and decadent circus tent. Act 1 is set in front of the circus with trucks, props and rigging. Whilst Act 2 features the tent, flagpoles and rigging being raised into the roof of the theater.

The costumes are designed by Angela Aaron whose impeccable recreations of original turn of the century circus costumes are truly a work of art.  These were inspired by authentic photographic collections, studying historical museum pieces and discussing with experts and historians.

No circus would be complete without its music and the soundtrack of Circus 1903 encapsulates the time period and accentuates the thrill and danger of the acts being composed by Evan Jolly, composer of many of Painter and Lawson’s international hits, and played by local musicians.

Circus 1903
Canberra Theatre Centre, London Circuit, Canberra
Season: 1 – 10 December 2016

Concert Hall – Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point
Season: 18 – 29 December 2016

Regent Theatre, 191 Collins Street, Melbourne
Season: 3 – 12 January 2017

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: The Cast of Circus 1903 with baby elephant, Karanga – photo by Jim Lee