In July 2020 we followed our intuition and began documenting the lives of a troupe of circus performers who had been confined to the promenade on Morecambe sea front during the first Coronvirus lockdown. Pitched on the site of an old waterpark and swimming facility, the 30 or so multinational performers did their best to survive without the income from shows or support from government organisations.
Lizzie and I were on site with the performers on and off for three months, and followed the troupe as they were finally given the permissions to move on. We are now in the process of looking for funding to begin post-production and editing of the film, which we hope to start very soon.
Read about the circus story so far:
The Big Kid Circus has been locked down in Morecambe for 130 days, but now it’s finally time to prepare for their first show. The only travelling circus in Britain that tours with multinational performers, it has been grounded and unable to work since the UK government brought in lockdown restrictions in March. A close-knit group of thirty performers aged between 2 and 92, the troupe lives on the road — but coronavirus left the circus unable to work, ineligible for welfare and forbidden to travel. The deprived communities of Morecambe have become an actual lifeline for these stranded artists, and now the circus must navigate a new normal as they prepare a run of free performances to show their gratitude.
At the heart of the circus are Bili, Kiril and their daughter Julia. All ex-performers, they each have a role in maintaining the ageing infrastructure of the circus, and keeping the troupe of artists ready and safe to perform for the public.
So much uncertainty lies ahead as these nomadic entertainers return to a much-changed world. Goodwill to travellers often runs in short supply — and they can’t expect the same genorosity when they move away from Morecambe, with its seaside views and rich history of travelling shows. Will the troupe be locked down again, and if so who will feed them this time? When will the Cuban artists be free to return to their families? And if the circus grinds to a halt once more, how will Bili and Kiril raise the £20,000 required to send them home?