We are now into the sixth week of the Giffords Circus season. The show has been going really well. The people love it, tickets are selling well and the company love performing the show. I think this is the most peaceful company we have ever had - without exception each person is kind and committed to the project, cheerful and co-operative and at the same time full of fun and mischief. Already there have been magic moments – backstage in clowns corner listening to the brilliant Tweedy, Maxi and David setting their props and the non-stop stream of jokes and good hearted teasing, the candlelit opening of our new expanded restaurant, our lovely Spanish horses warming up under the giant oaks at Sudeley Castle. The entrance of the Ethiopian troupe is a moment that reminds me every time of why I am producing circus – they arrive in a gust of joy, determination and skill. They are completely devoid of cynicism. They make me happy to be alive, even at the end of a bad day, and I am profoundly grateful to them for taking the plunge and throwing their lot in with ours, and to Bichu for bring them here.
This show is truly full of stars, but the show would be impossible to deliver without all the people who work backstage and front of house. Every day they wash the loo floors, sweep the seats, clean up rubbish, answer questions, and each of them does their work so well and so willingly. A few new members of the team have never lived in caravans before, some have never been away from home and they are tackling their new responsibilities with so much determination and initiative. When Toti and I started the circus we were in effect the youngest members of the company and often employed people who were older than us. The circus years roll by and we find ourselves now as almost a generation ahead of some of the new company members – its feels more like a family than ever.
Last week Bichu told me that the parents of Hailu Amare Kesto, one of the Ethiopian troupe, contacted Bichu to thank him for the opportunity he has given their son, as Hailu had just wired home some money from his wages. Hailu’s parents run a farm in Ethiopia and some of the money that Hailu will earn this summer will be invested in the farm.
I love to think of the circus in the Cotswold inadvertently helping Ethiopian agriculture – it feels like joy being passed around – by you the audience, and by the global village of the circus company.