The history of circus to go on display in Newcastle-under-Lyme

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The circus is coming to town – and so is a brand-new photo exhibition documenting the history of the modern circus for visitors.

Lexicon, a new show put together by UK-based circus company, NoFit State Circus, will premiere in April 2018 in Newcastle-under-Lyme, the birthplace of the creator of circus as we know it today, Philip Astley.

To celebrate the 250th anniversary of modern circus, a new exhibition will be visible on the fencing surrounding the three big-top stadiums where the NoFit shows will be taking place.

The exhibition, titled Themes and Stories, is being put together by Welsh photographer, Mark Robson, who became involved in circus in the 1990’s, after a performer taught him to juggle.

The exhibition will show how circus has changed, yet stayed the same, over the past 100 years. Many of the photos, sourced from archives, including old newspapers, are from the early 20th century.

It will also include Mark’s current photographs of NoFit State.

Mark said: “I have been involved for years and years.

“I did a show with NoFit State in 1995.

“It’s been a while now, and I have previously been on the board – I did lots of different things.

“I’m here because I’m documenting the creation of the show.

“In the archive photos, the most recent one is from 1950.

“Most of them are from 1902 to 1907.”

He added: “I like the community in circus – everybody is welcome.

“I’d like people to enjoy the photos – I am trying to curate an exhibition that shows the process of the show being created, that starts with the big-top going up.

“It’s about giving people an opportunity to see similarities and differences between the past and present.

“For me, there are more similarities, but I want people to make their own mind up of how much is different and how much is the same”.

Regarding the 250th anniversary celebration of Philip Astley, Mark said: “It’s all very interesting, and celebrating circus is great, and I am really chuffed to have been asked to be the curator for an exhibition.”

Communications and Marketing officer, Luc Morris, said: “I am really excited and it’s a big deal – it’s going to be fantastic.

“The exhibition is just one part of what is happening.

“It’s going to be very interesting for people to see what has changed and stayed the same.”

The exhibition is expected to be on display on the circus fencing from 26 March 2018.

More information on Lexicon and the accompanying exhibition can be found at: http://www.nofitstate.org/lexicon

For more details about Philip Astley and events in Newcastle-under-Lyme to celebrate Circus 250 visit www.philipastley.org.uk

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