Performers, Politics and Pop Culture

28 Apr – 8 Jul 2018

Main Gallery

Roll Up! Roll Up! This Spring The National Centre for Craft & Design and artsNK celebrate the 250th anniversary of Circus in Britain with a spectacular new show: Circus: Performers, Politics and Pop Culture. Join us for a balancing act of live performance and aerial acrobatics, film, photography, circus ephemera and design.

The exhibition presents elements of circus design through posters, pop culture and costume. Different viewpoints on the subject are uncovered through thematic exploration including Politics; Women in Circus, Equality and Inclusivity. The impact of circus on pop culture is highlighted through film, literature and music. Static exhibits are complemented by an ongoing programme of live aerial acts with star attraction pieces by performers in residence, Claire Crook aka Madam Mango and Rio Willett.

Free drop-in taster sessions will enable you to have a go at your own performance using aerial hoops led by the artsNK Dance Team!

Acts include:

Performers in Residence:

Claire Crook (Madam Mango)

Rio Willett


Tina Bicât

Becky Truman

Rhiannon Matthews


Visual arts:

Peter Lavery

Luke Stephenson                

Posters from the Richley Archive                                   

Liliana Robins


Circus Performances

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Regular event

Mon 18 Jun, Tue 19 Jun, Mon 25 Jun, Mon 2 Jul

Performer in Residence Rio Willett Live Rehearsals

Free, no need to book
10am - 5pm (times may vary)

Regular event

Thu 28 Jun, Fri 29 Jun, Sat 30 Jun

Performer in Residence Claire Crook (Madam Mango) Live Rehearsals

Free, no need to book
10am - 5pm (times may vary)

Special Event

Fri 6 Jul 2018, 7–8:30pm

Circus Grand Finale

£7 adults/£5 for under 16s. Please book under 16's places on 01529 308 710

Aerial Workshops

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Sat 23 Jun 11am-12pm

Aerial Silk and Hoop Free Taster Sessions

Free, drop-in session, 8yrs+


Mon 2 Jul 2018, 6–8:30pm

Rio Willett - Aerial Intro Hoop Workshop

Mon 2 Jul, 6 - 8.30pm
£25, 16yrs+, please book
Suitable for beginners and intermediate skill levels

Circus Craft Workshops

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Sat 30 Jun 2018, 11am–3pm

Circus Typography - Poster and Print

£40, 18yrs+, please book