A cast of acrobats, aerial performers, daredevils, jugglers, clowns, comedians, fire performers, showgirls and burlesque artistes are working together for on a unique show celebrating 250 years of the circus, premiering at Bradford’s Odsal Stadium on Saturday 13 October.
Big Top Burlesque – One Night Only! is the brainchild of award-winning Burlesque Producer, Heidi Bang Tidy (one half of the team who are responsible for the internationally-acclaimed Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival) and 10th generation Circus Performer and Producer, Summer, of Circus Sallai.
Heidi explained today how the show came about: “I make it a point to go and see the circus whenever it is near me. There is something very special about the rawness of a show in a big top. I have wanted to stage a show in a big top for a long time but I had never see a circus that I felt I could partner with until I saw Summer’s production.”
Summer goes on to explain “I couldn’t believe it when Heidi’s message dropped into my inbox. For years, I have been saying to everyone and anyone who would listen to me that I wanted to put together a show fusing circus and burlesque. I just didn’t know how or where to start. I am so excited to be working together on this.”
Rehearsals for Big Top Burlesque, which is described as ‘spectacular circus meets the cheeky side of cabaret’, are well underway. The existing cast of Circus performers are working on some new numbers for the show, working alongside some of the UK’s most well-respected Burlesque performers. Summer explains “This show isn’t just Burlesque artistes slotting into our existing show – we are working on ensemble pieces, with the burlesque performers being coached by the circus cast and vice versa. The circus side of Big Top Burlesque represents very best of live circus, repackaged for an adult audience.”
The circus cast of Big Top Burlesque includes Hannah Kennedy – an aerialist who left a career working with disadvantaged children to run away and join the circus at the start of 2018; Chloe Jayne, who performs an act suspended high above the big top audience by her hair; and the breathtaking Wheel of Death, performed by husband and wife team Thomas and Collette “The Sensational Salskies”. In addition, Salvatore Sambito will perform rope trapeze and a brand new act on aerial chains high in the roof of the big top; Billie, Circus Sallai’s hilarious modern clown (and a very talented juggler) is working on some new material and aerialists, Julia and Hannah will be performing a brand new, never before seen, double act on the aerial hoop.
Joining the Circus cast are internationally acclaimed Burlesque Performer, Cece Sinclair (who has featured in the 21st Century Burlesques UK poll in the top 20 burlesque performers for the last three years). Cece will be joined by Liverpool-based Velma Von Bon Bon, who herself has trained with Greentop Circus in Sheffield. Velma says she will bring “a touch of silliness and a dollop of smut” to the show. Multi award-winning Anna Fur Laxis, who recently returned from 6 years living and working in Shanghai, where she single-handedly grew the Burlesque scene in China, will be performing a new version of her signature Laxis of Evil axe-throwing striptease. Completing the cast of Burlesque artistes is winner of “Most Dazzling Dancer” at The Burlesque Hall of Fame in Las Vegas in 2016, Vicky Butterfly. Vicky will be bringing an act rarely seen outside London, where she performs on a giant, mirrored, rocking moon.
The show will be hosted by Circus Ringmistress Angel Sallai and Heidi Bang Tidy. Angel said today: “We have been having great fun in rehearsals playing with the good-cop; bad-cop dynamic. Having a Ringmistress and circus clown, working with a Burlesque compere and vaudevillian clown makes for some really hilarious opportunities too. Things we would never get away within a family show. It’s going to be a fabulous evening!”
Tickets for Big top Burlesque at Odsal Stadium on Saturday 13 October are on sale now, priced from £20 at www.bigtopburlesque.co.uk
Big Top Burlesque – One Night Only.Saturday 13 October, Odsal Stadium, Bradford, BD6 1BS. Doors 8pm. Show 8.30pm. Strictly Over 18s. This performance will be signed by a BSL Interpreter.