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Celebrating Newbury's circus history

Newbury’s circus roots will be celebrated this summer as the Corn Exchange, Newbury and its 101 Outdoor Arts Creation Space present Celebrating Sanger – a range of free events running between May and September.

Celebrating Sanger commemorates the life and times of the famous ‘Lord’ George Sanger who was born in the town. George Sanger was one of England’s most successful showmen – attracting thousands of people to his spectacles, staging extravagant parades and performing for royalty and dignitaries. A colourful character and a consummate entertainer, Sanger was a legend in his own lifetime. Although he left Newbury for a life on the road, the statue of Queen Victoria that he bequeathed to the town still stands in the local park.

Sanger’s magnificent circus parades are the inspiration for Carnival of the Animals, a family event on Saturday 2 June at 7pm. In collaboration with Compagnie Caramantran, spectacular animal puppets will parade through the town, from Northbrook Street to the Market Place, led by a larger than life Sanger. Live music, aerial performance and an exuberant atmosphere will make this an unforgettable event for all ages.

Carnival of the Animals marks the opening of 70 Years a Showman – an exhibition running from 30 May to 2 September at West Berkshire Museum. In partnership with the National Fairground and Circus Archive, the museum will present a glimpse into the life of Sanger and the world of Victorian performers, travelling fairs and British circus past and present. Amongst the artefacts specially chosen for this exhibition there will be remarkable photos of Sanger’s circus never before shown in the UK.

Celebrating Sanger is part of Circus250, a national celebration of 250 years of British Circus, and is presented in the Corn Exchange’s outdoor arts programme funded by Greenham Trust and Arts Council England.

For more information please visit www.cornexchangenew.com or call the Box Office on 0845 5218 218 (calls cost 2p per minute plus your telephone company’s standard access charge).

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