Philip Astley: His Life and Legacy
5 May – 15 July 2018
Free to all
Meet the father of the modern circus and discover how his legacy lives on in the entertainment industry today.
In 1768, the skilled equestrian and ‘trick-rider’ Philip Astley began entertaining crowds by riding in a circle and, almost inadvertently, invented the modern circus.
He was the first to include other performers in his show, such as clowns and acrobats, and has gone down in history as an international superstar and cultural innovator.
To celebrate his life and legacy, this exhibition looks at his early years in the town where he was born, and considers how those experiences drew him towards his later career. Including six original drawings, engravings and prints on loan from the V&A, it also explores his influence on the performing arts right up to the present day.
This exhibition is supported by the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund.