Time called on end of the Pier circus

by Nigel Brown Jun 22 2019 0     1,753
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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 year.

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.

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