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Showman Sanger's triumphant return

Street celebration of Newbury-born Victorian circus impresario

Trish Lee

Trish Lee


01635 886663

Showman's Sangers triumphant return

EXOTIC animals danced through the streets of Newbury on Saturday night as part of a tribute to one of England’s most successful showmen – ‘Lord’ George Sanger.

Carnival of the Animals paraded from Northbrook Street to the Market Place, with live music and plenty of dancing drawing the crowds. This grand procession was led by a larger-than-life ‘Sanger’ to commemorate the famous circus impresario, who was born in the town.

Also entertaining the crowds was an energetic ensemble of monkeys played by members of the Corn Exchange Youth Theatre.

Around 3,500 people gathered to watch the parade as amazing puppetry, dance and music filled the streets leading to the Market Place where they were treated to 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 funded by Greenham Trust and Arts Council England. It was part of Circus250, a national celebration of 250 years of British Circus.

The parade marked the opening of 70 Years a Showman – an exhibition running until September 2 at West Berkshire Museum.

In partnership with the National Fairground and Circus Archive, the museum presents a glimpse into the life of Sanger and the world of Victorian performers, travelling fairs and British circus past and present.

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