Time called on end of the Pier circus
June 22, 2019
Time has been called on Clacton’s end of the
Pier circus following recent disappointing audience figures.
Operator Circus Fantasia made the difficult decision
and has cancelled its six week run through the summer holidays.
Last summer’s heatwave badly affected the numbers
watching the two daily performances compared to the previous year - and that
was followed by a similar story this Whitsun.
The operator met with the Pier’s owners last
week and told them that he could not carry on with performance costs being much
higher than income.
Director Billy Ball said it was a huge disappointment
as a great deal of time and effort had been put into converting the Jolly Roger
Arena into an intimate big top environment.
“There was certainly no lack of willingness on
anyone’s part to make this idea work and we had top quality international acts
on show,” he said.
“We felt it was the ideal sort of offering for
the end of the Pier and those who came along really loved it and were very
complimentary. The trouble was that not enough of them turned out.
“Are we sorry we tried this – definitely not.
We said it was a trial and we were into our third season, but it goes that way
sometimes. It was without doubt a good circus, but we could just not attract
the numbers that were needed through the doors to make it financially viable.”
The 300 seats needed to be more than 30 per
cent full for each show and that simply did not happen, apart from the first
Mr Ball added that Matthew Wingate of Circus
Fantasia has indicated that he would be willing to look at things again in the
future – possibly when the Jolly Roger Arena has undergone a revamp.
“We never say never, and hope that we may be
able to link up with Matthew again in the future,” he said.
Now the Pier is looking for an alternative
entertainment offering for the Jolly Roger this summer.