Circus School provides performers for La Boheme

Seen here are our students in rehearsal for Puccini’s La Boheme performed at the Grand Theatre, Blackpool on the 12th March. Our Circus School was asked to supply some street entertainers for this Russian production. It was a great experience for our young people to work with some of the worlds greatest artistes.

The BBC heard about this event and obtained permission to record the students performance. This will be part of a new show to be screened in April called “Level up” a factual magazine show for CBBC. The programme will explore the opportunities and some of the difficulties faced by children as they grow up in 2006.  Further recording for the show will take place at Highfield School on the 18th March when they record a typical Circus workshop that leads to a performance of this standard.

La Boheme rehearsals

La Boheme rehearsals

BBC TV Film at Highfield Humanities College for “Level up”

BBC TV Film at Highfield Humanities College for “Level up”

BBC TV Film at Highfield Humanities College for "Level up"

BBC TV Film at Highfield Humanities College for "Level up"

Juggling master class at the Grand Theatre

Thanks to the National Lotteries support of the Grand Theatre Blackpool, Mooky the star of the Tower Circus, was able to give Jamie-Lee-Coldham of Blackpool Circus School a master class in juggling.

Blackpool Circus School, thanks to the Grand, were also able to give an opportunity to local youngsters to sample the thrills of the Circus in their own skills & clowning workshop with Yuri & Tonya, tutors of the School. The photo shows Elaine Fossett of the Grand with some of the students receiving their certificates at the end of a very exciting day.

Juggling at the Grand Theatre

Juggling at the Grand Theatre

National Theatre of Variety Launch

Blackpool Circus School were very highly praised for their part in the launch of the National Theatre of Variety. Manager Paul Isles said after the show “How nice to see teachers and students performing together” Three teachers and six students took part with an age range from 8 to 69.

Teacher Yuri Gridneff was particularly proud to be in the show as he was working in variety when one by one the old theatres died. Robin Dukes, Blackpool Gazette entertainment editor quoted “The youngsters of Blackpool Circus School who carry the baton for future generations.” And Peter Elliot, executive administrator of the entertainment artistes benevolent fund wrote “It really was a joy to sit in the audience and watch true professionals display their art to such an appreciative audience.”

The students that represented BCS along with their teachers were, Holly Johnstone 15, Jamie leeColdham 16, Mark Fishwick 13, Billy Robinson 13, James wade 15 and Martyn Hawkins 8. The teachers that appeared in addition to Yuri, were Roger Mirales, ex Barnum & Bailey Flyer and Liang, ex Chinese state Circus acrobat.

Also in February, Yuri Gridneff appeared on the Ted Robins Radio Lancashire morning show to Juggle on the Air! The outstanding success of this resulted in Yuri being invited onto Alison Brownes Top 10 show where Yuri had to select 10 records that were memorable in his life and to talk about the events that led to his selection.

On the 12th March, 5 students from Blackpool Circus School will take part in La Boheme at the Grand theatre Blackpool. They will play the parts of street entertainers during a scene that features a market place in Paris.

Highfield Circus Club Graduates

Following the introduction of the beginners class at Highfield humanities College last term, we have eight successful graduates to Circus club.  These will now be able to go on to learn all the other skills that we teach.  The skills include, Trapeze, Tightrope, Stilt walking and Unicycle.

Due to the success of these eight students, we now have places for more beginners in the Spring term commencing 11th.

Graduates from Blackpool Circus club

Graduates from Blackpool Circus club

Circus workshop in Zippos Big Top

On their first visit to Lytham St Annes, Martin Burton director of Zippos Circus invited Blackpool Circus School to participate in a workshop in the big top.

The artistes took the trouble to dress in costume for the occasion and even Norman Barrett and Charlie Cairoli joined in.  The students were delighted to join in on the trapeze with one of the very best trapeze artistes, Miss Kimberly from the USA.

Greg from Zippos Circus academy helped with the Diabolo and Nicolas Souren took the students in Juggling.  Nicolas was very impressed with Martyn Hawkins (age 8) who juggled 5 rings with him.

Blackpool Circus School students at Zippos

Blackpool Circus School students at Zippos

Three of the boys were appearing at the Tower Circus on the day of the workshop, so were unable to join in.  Nicolas Souren, very kindly offered them a master class in Juggling on another day and they took advantage of this.  Nicolas impressed Jamie Lee and Yuri  with his ability to throw out 10 rings in practise.  All the students were invited to the show and all together this was an experience that they will never forget.

Student Features on TV show

Student features on TV show. Mark Fishwick 12, who started his juggling with Blackpool Circus School, has recorded a programme for ITV called “U Prove it” a scientific children’s programme that will be transmitted nationwide in the spring.

Mark, an original member of the “Easy Riders” got hooked on juggling and balancing when the Circus School visited Arnold School two years ago.  He has appeared on stage many times but this was his first solo effort.

Praise was heaped on him by the two stars of the show, James & Joe.  The director and producer also commented on how professional Mark was in his work and behaviour.  His teachers Yuri & Tonya Gridneff, who accompanied Mark and his mother Karen, to Maidstone, were delighted with his performance and feel that this will be the first of many appearances on TV.

Alan McPherson, a co founder of BCS, who is seriously ill in Victoria hospital, was cheered when he saw a recording of the TV show. This was made possible by the very nice people at Maidstone studios.  His dream and vision of a traditional Circus school was fulfilled by this appearance plus the
earlier performances of the “Easy Riders” (see earlier item ) at the Tower Circus.

Mark on U Prove It

Mark on U Prove It

Mark on U Prove It

Mark on U Prove It

Allen McPherson

Our Co-founder of Blackpool Circus School, Allen McPherson, Passed away this afternoon the 14th of November in Victoria Hospital, Blackpool at 1:45PM.
Our thoughts are with his widow Babs McPherson and their daughters, Debbie & Gina

The most extraordinary dinner on earth

Blackpool Circus School students and trainers dedicated their appearance at the Grand Theatre Blackpool to the memory of Allen McPherson.  The occasion was “The most extraordinary dinner on earth”  with Aled Jones and hosted by the world famous Ringmaster, Norman Barrett.

The Circus School performed in the auditorium while Blackpool Brass played for them in the Circle.  The diners were on the stage and later in the evening, Aled sung to them from the front of the circle.

  Circus School students

Circus School students appear at the Grand Theatre Blackpool

Arnold School Xmas fayre

Arnold School Xmas fayre was  attended by Blackpool Circus School and once again was hosted by Norman Barrett.  The Circus School provided a workshop and sales table manned by our volunteers, Karen Fishwick and Maureen Walker. Their sons Mark & Joseph helped teach the youngsters to plate spin and learn the Diabolo.  Later in the day, Mark, dressed and made up as Ronald McDonald entertained at a children’s party in Lytham.  Everyone present thought he was great and Mark wants to do more entertaining in the future.

Norman Barrett

Norman Barrett