Exotic animals parade the streets of Newbury

All images: Adam Hillier

On Saturday 2 June, at approximately 7pm, sightings were reported of giant exotic creatures dancing through the streets of Newbury.

A zebra, a rhino, a gazelle, an elephant, a camel and a gorilla all came together for a street party as part of Carnival of the Animals, which included live music and plenty of dancing, as part of a tribute to British circus and one of England’s most successful showmen (and Newbury born), 'Lord' George Sanger. Leading this grand procession was Newbury’s very own ‘larger than life’ Sanger, accompanied by an energetic ensemble of miniature monkeys that comprised of students from the Corn Exchange’s Youth Theatre.

Starting at Northbrook Street, around 3,500 people came out and supported the parade. Blessed with beautiful weather and sunshine, the amazing puppetry, dance and music entertained the crowds through the high street before culminating in the Market Place with a spectacular aerial performance.

In a collaboration with Compagnie Caramantran, Carnival of the Animals was presented by the Corn Exchange and its 101 Outdoor Arts Creation Space as part of the outdoor arts programme which is funded by Greenham Trust and Arts Council England. The tribute is also part of Circus 250, a national anniversary programme marking 250 years of British circus.

Did you come along and experience the Carnival of the Animals?Then we would like to know what you thought!

At the Corn Exchange Newbury, we aim to present the highest quality of outdoor art creation for the public and town to enjoy. Your feedback is really helpful when we are planning future events.

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Carnival of the Animals alsomarked 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. Among the artifacts specially chosen for this exhibition there will be remarkable photos of Sanger’s circus never before shown in the UK. Click here for more information.

For more information about our Youth Theatre programme, click here.

Our next outdoor event...

If you enjoyed Carnival of the Animals, be sure to come along to our next outdoor event: Wayfaring. There will be opportunities to come and watch the installation of this project at Basildon Park between Wed 18 – Fri 20 July, before the main event on Sat 21 July, 8pm (Tickets are free, but pre-booking is required for the main event). Click here for more information.