23 Jun 2017

Guest post: A breathtaking evening at the Chinese State Circus

The following review was originally published on the Plutonium Sox Family Blog and has been posted here with the kind permission of the author.


A breathtaking evening at the Chinese State Circus

There aren’t many evenings out that are fun for the whole family. Entertainment after a certain time tends to be aimed at adults and whilst children are often welcome, it’s not necessarily much fun for them. One clear exception is the circus. And as circuses go, the Chinese State Circus is by some distance the best I’ve ever seen.

About the Chinese State Circus

The Chinese State Circus is world famous for skilful performances that wow the audience. The team comprises 30 acrobats, jugglers, aerial artists and Shaolin Warriors. Each act is a few minutes long before moving on to a different act. There isn’t a moment when the audience isn’t transfixed by the stage.

Unlike many such shows, the Chinese State Circus is entirely true and authentic. There’s no trickery or optical illusions. Just highly trained athletes that have practiced their performances for years to achieve perfection.

The Chinese State Circus Dynasty production

The production currently touring is called Dynasty. The show starts with a drummer at the back of the stage creating an atmospheric drum beat. He is soon joined by acrobats and the show starts with a bang. From the moment the acrobats came on stage, the whole audience were transfixed. Even my fidgety two year old sat quietly except for the odd ooh and ahh...

...Please click here to read the full review on the Plutonium Sox Family Blog


Thank you once again to Natalie from the Plutonium Sox Family Blog for allowing us to post her fabulous review. If you enjoyed her post, don't forget to leave some feedback in the comments to let her know, and check out the rest of her writing.

The Chinese State Circus is currently touring the UK with its latest production - 'Dynasty'! Please see here for all upcoming tour dates.

16 Jun 2017

Pride Month 2017

Here at Gandeys World Class Productions we pride ourselves on celebrating diversity.

June is the month of diversity as it is known in the LGBT+ community as Pride month. 

June was chosen to commemorate the Stonewall Riots which happened at the end of June in 1969. As a result many events are held each year to celebrate the LGBT+ community and the positive impact they have on society. 

Huge organisations now celebrate Pride month, including some of the biggest brands across the globe.

Skittles have 'removed the rainbow' from their packets in honour of Pride month as they claim 'During Pride, only one rainbow matters'.

Facebook have created a Pride Reaction Emoji which users will have for the month of June.

Converse are also supporting the movement with their limited Pride range. All the proceeds from this range go to the It Gets Better Project and Miley Cyrus' Happy Hippie Foundation.

It is incredible to see brands like these getting involved in Pride month all across the globe with a very important message to spread.

The Lady Boys of Bangkok, the queens of Pride, are currently in Manchester until the 24th of June. Don't miss them before they leave! 

9 Jun 2017

Terri Lowe: Gandeys Circus Review

Here at Gandey World Class productions we pride ourselves on being a tight-knit organisation and as employees come and go we love to keep in touch to to see how they're doing and of course always welcome them back to see our productions.

Earlier this year Terri Lowe came to see Gandey's Circus, here's what she had to say:

"For those who have followed my blog, or spoken to me for a while, you may know that in a previous life I worked on the PR and Marketing for Gandey World Class Productions. A production company like no other, they're responsible for shows such as The Chinese State Circus and The Ladyboysof Bangkok. Whilst working there, I developed a completely new love and respect for performance and the work that goes not only in to the choreography of the shows, but also the work that goes in to the outfits!
During my time there, I never got the chance to see the renowned Gandey's Circus. Which is why I knew I had to go and take my little niece when the circus came to Stoke on Trent last week.

I must admit, I wasn't quite prepared for the spectacular show I was about to witness. I assumed there'd be some clowns, maybe a few tricks, a trapeze at a push.... But I soon realised I was very, very wrong. From start to finish the entire crowd was in awe of the amazing acts from around the world, all under one Big Top Tent.

Chico Rico is the clown that appears to run the show, with a healthy dose of audience interaction and (unfortunately for me), a section of audience participation... Which wasn't my best move with a hangover that day, but it was fun all the same. I even got some sneaky Instagram Story footage of my experience in the Circus ring...

From trapeze acts, where women dangled from their hair?! (seriously what conditioner do they use?), to flames on hoops and acrobatics like I've never seen. It was non-stop from the opening musical number, through to the minions and until the very end.

There were too many acts to count, and the show lasted a whopping two hours! I think my niece was probably a little young for a show of that length, as she is only just turned 2. Her attention lasted a good while though and it wasn't until around 1 hour 45 minutes that she began to get a little restless. However, all the other children were captivated until the very end! And it's no wonder, when the final act of the show was the world famous Wheel of Death. Which actually did make most of the audience gasp several times in unison at one point.

The show was rounded off in true Gandey's style, with a collection of amazing costumes and the entire cast coming out for the finale. Not to mention the massive inflatable carousel..."

Terri went to see the show earlier in the year in Stoke-on-Trent, did you go?

Check out more from Terri here

2 Jun 2017

National Fish and Chip Day!

Today may not be one of the better known national days, but it's arguably one of the tastiest!

It's National Fish and Chip Day!!

The day was the brainchild of NEODA, and originated as a way for fish and chip lovers across the country to come together to celebrate the nation's favourite dish. It's an opportunity for people to enjoy a tasty meal of indulgence, and to spread the word and help direct footfall to local fish and chip shops across the UK.

In 2016, #nationalfishandchipday began trending on Twitter and Facebook at 9.30am and the media coverage that stemmed from this meant that it became one of the busiest days of the year for chippies, with some saying it was even busier than Good Friday. More than 28 million people saw, heard or read about National Fish & Chip Day! 

2017 is expected to see an even bigger increase in people celebrating National Fish and Chip Day.

There's nothing quite like a delicious portion of fish and chips! Whether you eat it straight out of the paper with a wooden fork, or serve it delicately on a plate with a lemon wedge, there are few pleasures that surpass that first bite through crunchy golden batter into the succulent white meat, followed by a moreish nibble on a fried chip laden with salt and vinegar...

What is your meal of choice from the chippy? Are you a traditionalist who goes for the classic combo with mushy peas, or do you prefer curry sauce, gravy... or even a battered sausage?

Now, if you'll excuse us... we've got a date with our local chippy! Happy Fryday!

26 May 2017

Guest Post: 'Katharine Kavanagh 'The Circus Diaries - Inside The National Centre For Circus Arts'

Here at Gandeys we love to read from different arts writers around the Globe.
We came across, a fascinating site; The Circus Diaries, written by Katharine Kavanagh, which is described as 'A Critical Exploration of the Circus World'. We loved reading her work and asked if we could share some with you...

"It was like Christmas coming early.  An invitation to visit the library at the National Centre For Circus Arts in London.  Books! Circus books! Hoorah!

Walking into the building, so unassuming from the outside, I find myself in a modern reception area. The design is clean and unfussy, flavoured with bare brick, industrial wire work, and wooden floors that remind me of so many old school halls.  Originally a community power station from the Victorian era, the structure was taken over by the then Circus Space in 1994 and, after extensive renovation, returned to a community purpose, providing circus classes and training for professionals and amateurs alike.

The National Centre is part of the UK’s Conservatoire for Dance and Drama, which places it amongst prestigious training grounds such as RADA, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, and Rambert School ofBallet and Contemporary Dance.  Even in such fine company though, the playful and familial circus heart still beats throughout its corridors and studio spaces.  A girl hides beneath the sinks in the cloakroom area of the ladies’ loos, motioning me to ‘shhh’ as I come through the door.  A group of students burst noisily into the foyer area carrying a fully decorated Christmas tree, joking together in a variety of languages (I hear ‘Make like a juggler and drop it’).  As I sit, I’m joined by Tim Lenkiewicz of Square Peg, who just happens to have popped in to meet a friend.  Before I know it, I’m reading out horoscopes to a group of circus folk.

Joint CEO Jane Rice-Bowen arrives to meet me with a smile and a pair of gold angel wings strapped to her back.  This is the last day of term, she explains, and as she didn’t have a traditional Christmas jumper to wear, she made her own! Jane has been with the organisation for over 10 years, through much of the renovation and through the transition to national status earlier this year.  She currently shares the CEO role with Kate White and, as she guides me around the circus studios, Jane explains that their role is about creating a safe space – structurally, physically, emotionally and legally – in order for people to do incredible things.

The largest two spaces are named for their original power station functions – the Generating Chamber and the Combustion Chamber.  Both are rigged from floor to ceiling with all manner of kit, and are available to professionals as training space as well as to the school’s students.  Lunch-breaks are staggered to allow daytime training availability, in addition to evening sessions where students can use the facilities alongside working professionals.  The schedule also includes recreational classes and slots reserved solely for professional practice, as well as corporate team building events that bring to life business metaphors such as ‘keeping all the plates spinning’, and ‘balancing a fine line’.

The Acrobatics Studio is fully sprung and padded, and provides space for family classes with children from the age of two and a half.  A purpose built creation space includes a semi-sprung floor, laid over concrete screed to allow for solid rigging, and boasts mirrored walls all the way up to the ceiling.  ‘Space is worth a huge amount to artists and performers’, explains Jane.  ‘Here it’s safe, it’s clean, it’s riggable, it’s warm – all that stuff that you need.’  There are also ‘circus solutions’ dotted around the warren-like building, such as the squares of specially hardened floor for bounce juggling.

Moving up the building are creative office hub units, (one of which is current home to Upswing), the Middle Studio (where contestants of recent BBC reality show Tumble trained their aerial routines), the Top Studio (fitted with a ballet barre for students’  movement classes, but also apparently a favourite with the jugglers because of the quality of light), and then, the reason why I’m here: the library.

Currently only open to full-time students of the school, the collection of books, journals, DVDs and reports is a treasure trove of eclectic material that might benefit anyone looking to forge a career in the circus world.  Whilst there are the anticipated biographies, volumes on circus history, guides to acrobatic techniques, clowning, and a big shelf on juggling, there is also a selection of writings on acting technique, dance, puppetry, martial arts, theatre history and arts theory, alongside study skills and business strategy,  physiology, architecture, and circus fiction…  The catalogue stretches from the Good Study Guide to The Hacky Sack Book, from Gray’s Anatomy to Paul Daniels’ Story of Magic.

Then there are the stacks of newspapers, piles of journals and folders full of magazines.  UK publications The Stage, King Pole and World’s Fair are all stocked, as are international titles.  There are boxes of show programmes, archived by company. There are VHS and DVD records of performances ranging from the Marx Brothers to students’ graduating shows.

There are also, unsurprisingly, several volumes in French, and I ask whether the school offers any French language classes.  Although not an official part of the programme, Tim Roberts, who is HE Courses Director for the Centre, has begun to introduce his students to ‘France World’. After working as Boss Clown at Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus in the 1970s,  Roberts spent 20 years as a teacher in France.   ‘France World’ is an informal window onto cultural and conversational French, relevant to the circus industry.   The National Centre also organises exchange programmes with schools in France, both for students and teachers, widening opportunities for professional careers.

In the past, borrowing from the library has been on a haphazard – and sometimes permanent – basis, but funding has recently been secured for a security system to make sure no more items will be accidentally lost.  Jane’s eyes brighten as she talks about the Centre’s ambitions to grow their stock and open up the resource to the public in the future.  ‘What’s important’, she stresses, ‘Is to grow the status of the art form, to spread awareness.’ "

Want to read some more from Katharine? Head to: www.thecircusdiaries.com

22 May 2017

Romy Bauer: Working with Gandeys.

Here at Gandeys World Class Productions we have produced some of the most popular shows around the globe for over 40 years. 

We pride ourselves on successfully providing diverse entertainment in complex and challenging environments, where many have failed before. 
Mostly, we pride ourselves in being a tight-knit company where all who work with us are treated as our 'Gandey Family'.

Romy Bauer, Contortionist, began working with Gandeys from her very early years and has never looked back. We asked her what it was like to work with Gandeys and how she got into circus. 

"My name is Romy Bauer.

My parents were both in circus, and their parents and their parents - actually I'm not sure how far back my family has worked in the business but I know it's many, many generations! I was lucky enough to be born into this business and have always loved it.

Day-to-day I perform an aerial contortion. I have a globe act - which is a giant crystal ball that is suspended from the big top, and an Aerial Hoop act.

How did I get into working with Gandeys? Well my parents began working for Gandeys when I was 2 years old, so apart from a few years I took off to go to school, I have been with this company for most of my life. 

For me, Gandeys is my family. We have a lot of different artists that come and go and they are always so sad to go, it's a lovely company to work for and has such a family environment. People often say it can be very difficult working and living together - but at Gandeys I haven't seen this be a problem."

Romy has just moved from Gandeys Circus to perform with Circus Starr

Romy is delighted to be performing with Circus Starr, which is an incredible organisation providing free entertainment for thousands of disadvantaged, disabled and vulnerable children. Head on over to their Facebook to see what they're up to!

19 May 2017

Hollywood A-Listers filming for Guernsey production.

In Guernsey a host of Hollywood A-Listers are currently filming for a new production set to hit our screens in 2018.

It will feature a number of stars, including Lily James, Penelope Wilton and Matthew Goode of Downtown Abbey, along with Glen Powell of Hidden Figures and Michiel Huisman from Game of Thrones (just to name a few!).

 Lily James is staring in the film, portraying Juliet Ashton, a free-spirited journalist who forms a bond with a secret book society during the German occupation of the channel islands during the second world war. 

During this time, Juliet  falls in love with the people of Guernsey and with 'Guernsey and Literary Potato Peel Society' and decides to write about the book club they formed. 

The screen play is adapted from the Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrow's best seller of the same name which sold over 7.5 million copies.

We can't wait to see the film next year, if it's anything like the book it's guaranteed to be a hit!

Gandeys Circus is currently in Guernsey before moving onto Jersey next week. 

A resident, or visiting the islands and want to have a thrill packed 5* show whilst you're there? Get your tickets here.