2016 marked a new chapter in the direction of programming at Worthing Theatres.

Establishing themselves as the Home of Contemporary Circus on the South Coast, Worthing Theatres recently hosted their first Summer of Circus season, which saw nine locally, nationally and internationally recognised companies come together between July and September to put on productions, workshops and classes in one of the three largest contemporary circus festivals in the UK.

The festival, which was aimed at long term circus fanatics, families and first time theatre goers, was launched with free performances of Acrojou’s Frantic on 31 May outside the Pavilion Theatre, giving Worthing a taste of what was to come.

The festival began on 8 July with Lost In Translation’s family production The Hogwallops, touring the UK for the first time, audiences were also treated to a Q&A session with Jacksons Lane artistic director Adrian Berry. Later that month the venue welcomed Australian circus company Trash Test Dummies, Adelade Fringe award winners, as part of a bespoke tour with the London Southbank Centre. The month was concluded with internationally acclaimed Pirates of the Carabina and their soaring production of FLOWN.

Later in the season, Gorilla Circus displayed their skills on the UK’s only outdoor flying trapeze open to the public. They performed free shows at Lancing Beach Green and led classes where brave thrill seekers took the reins in the sky to learn tricks from the professionals - This included our very own Tom, Stephen and Milan from our team, who conquered his fear of heights in the process!

September then welcomed Les Enfant Terribles to the Connaught Theatre and their murder mystery musical The Vaudevillains, directly from receiving high praise from the Edinburgh Fringe. Then closing the season aerial theatre company Ockham’s Razor, recent winner of the Total Theatre Award, brought their Triple Bill to the Pavilion Theatre, whilst Metta Theatre displayed their new production Blown Away, adapted from Rob Biddulph’s much loved children’s book.

Throughout the season Circusseen ran local workshops to build circus skills and encourage engagement and involvement within the local community.

The season saw over 3500 seats sold for ticketed events, with an income of £36.5k on ticket sales alone. 33% of the audience were first time bookers with Worthing Theatres.

Praised as a huge success both culturally and industry wide, Amanda O’ Reilly, Head of Culture for Adur and Worthing Council says “We were delighted to introduce this thrilling new genre of entertainment to Worthing, contemporary circus is a beautiful example of the arts at its best and the response we had, from our previous and new audiences, has been brilliant. Now we’re looking ahead to next year to make it even bigger and better

For anyone looking to experience contemporary circus in Worthing, CircusSeen continue to provide local workshops with the next class on 25 October, comic duet Cul De Sac come to the Pavilion Theatre on 28 February with world class juggling, dance and acrobatics on ground and Chinese pole, and Barely Methodical Troupe return to Worthing with their latest production Kin on 16 and 17 June, which has opened to rave reviews at Roundhouse circus festival.

Join in our discussions on Facebook and Twitter

  • What was your favourite show?
  • What would you love to see in our next Summer of Circus?
  • Has this season grown your interest in Contemporary Circus?
  • Should we send our marketing team up another flying trapeze?

Cul De Sac
Date: Tuesday 28 February 2017
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: Pavilion Theatre, Marine Parade, Worthing, BN11 3PX
Price: £12.50, Concessions £11, Friends £10, Students £8.50, Groups 8+ £6.50

Date: 16 & 17 June 2017
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: Pavilion Theatre, Marine Parade, Worthing, BN11 3PX
Price:   £15.50 - £23.50, Concessions £17.50, Friends £15, Students £10