Circus in Hastings

A few nights ago, I managed to do something I never thought would happen because I thought it didn’t exist anymore: go to a small-time, tiny-town tent circus.

A real live circus in a tent!

We managed to get free tickets (on the condition of spending £4 on souvenirs between two people), so we headed over to this magical place at sunset for the evening show. I’ve been to the circus once before, but, being in Canada where the weather is not tent appropriate for eight months of the year, it was an indoors affair.

Thus when we came up the hill and saw a tent, it took me a moment to realize that that was the actual circus and not a really fancy entrance to a hidden building (my brain is super slow sometimes, guys, it’s embarrassing).

When, of course, I did realize, I was super excited – nearly as bouncy as the multitude of kids bouncing on the soggy English earth.

Once I calmed down and took some photos, we lined up to register our ticket vouchers.

How can people line up so patiently when there’s a circus tent so near?!

It didn’t take too long, although the bitter seaside breeze made it feel like ages. But finally we got both our tickets and the £4 souvenir (a really nifty mug), and made our way towards the entrance.

How awesome is that.

The people from the performance that just finished started filtering out, so we lingered behind the fence for a few minutes to avoid getting bopped by giant blowup dolphin hammers every kid was wielding wildly.

As a side note, bringing your kids to the circus is like feeding them espresso spiked with cocaine. Every single one of them is running around like a rabid dog thinking they can juggle or handstand or walk the tightrope (aka whatever narrow strip of footing they can find) so that they can be as impressive as the performers they just saw. So approach the circus with care.

So many children!

At last we were allowed in.

The inside was spectacular – lights everywhere, blasting music, and wooden slab bleachers as seating. Performers were selling glowing lightup toys, spinning plastic plates, and those dolphin hammers we’d seen outside.

Most importantly though were two food vendors on opposite ends of the tent, one with cotton candy and the other with popcorn (hardest decision ever).

Priorities: find the food.

Ricky and I beelined to the popcorn one and got one of those red and white striped bags that make you think of a 50’s movie theater.

So iconic and perfect!

Being so keen to get in right away though, we ended up having to wait ages until the show actually started. We’d gone right through the popcorn and drinks we’d bought and our butts were already numb from the super narrow benches by the time the lights dimmed.

But once it started, it was awesome. Jugglers, acrobats, tightrope walkers (without harnesses might I add – and one nearly fell, holding on by just his fingertips), and some awesome hula hoopers.

There was a short intermission in which they brought out a guy dressed as a Transformer for photo ops – which I desperately wanted to take advantage of, but you had to pay £3. So I took one from a distance for free.


Ricky had gone to the bathroom and overheard some people talking there that the performance was based on a French circus, which was kind of cool.

The finishing act was the motorcycle cage, which was absolutely the most stressful thing in the world to watch. I kept expecting them to crash any second. And then to make it worse they opened  the dome so the motorcyclists were circling around the top half with nothing below them…my imagination was conjuring some pretty gruesome images for when they (seemingly inevitably) flung out of the cage and into the audience.

Fortunately no such things happened, and everyone left the tent unscathed albeit with their hearts beating a little faster.

It was genuinely so much fun though. So if Circus Zyair ever comes to your town, make sure to go see them. It’s a guaranteed good old fashioned time.

Circus Zyair.

5 thoughts on “Circus in Hastings

  1. Sounds like no animals were used, which would be great, given the stories we hear of their circumstances!
    (We DO have tent shows in Montreal…Cirque du soleil and Odysseo/Cavalia. But not as a constant.)


      1. Totally true…our tents are big and white and lack the traditional circus look that this one that you went to has…lack the bright colours that make the heart beat upon seeing. The white is so sterile in comparison.


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