The circus is coming to town for this year’s Buxton Fringe thanks to travelling theatre company Fit Up Productions which brings its outdoor stage show to Buxton’s Market Place on July 7.
Fit Up founder Tasha McGhie explains: “We will be bringing Corey Pickett’s silent show - the loudest silent show you’ve ever seen with unicycling, juggling, diabalo and comedy, plus the Felicity Footloose show - high-impact acrobatics, trapeze and juggling with an 80s theme.”
Fit Up is also promising a street show with “juggling and acrobatics and idiots!” and a new children’s theatre show based on the poems of Shockheaded Peter.
In a new departure, Fit Up is also offering the stage to other Fringe performers too.
Tasha says: “It is a platform to give other acts an opportunity to perform in the outdoor environment with a lovely Fringe audience.”
The term fit up is old-fashioned slang for a temporary stage and Tasha is carrying on a 200-year-old tradition.
“I was lucky enough to spend quite a bit of time with my gran, Pearl, over recent years and she really inspired me,” she explains.
“Pearl used to travel around with her father’s Fit Up company, The Earl Armstrong Repertory Theatre, and they would perform in rural places, such as Ireland and Wales during the war.”
For some of these remote villages, Fit Up was their only entertainment for the year.
Tasha herself is a juggler, acrobat and trapeze artist. She left school at the age of 16 to juggle at Legoland theme park.
“My mum was a ballet dancer and my dad an actor,” she says.
“If I had run away, donned a suit and turned into an accountant that would have been seen as more of a rebellion!”
Nor did coming to Buxton take much thinking about: “I’ve never been and I’ve heard lovely things about it so we thought we’d give it a go!”
2018 is significant because circus, which began in London in 1768, is celebrating its 250th anniversary.
Tasha believes it has never been stronger: “There are lots of small-scale productions coming up that are fantastic.
“It can recreate itself into different mediums and will always thrive in that way.”
And bringing communities together is what it is all about.
She adds: “Outdoor arts are a great way to give a range of different communities access to theatre that is affordable.
“The theatre is brought to you and you could just stumble across a performance without planning to see anything.”
Who knows, you might even run away to the circus...
• Fringe on the Market featuring Fit Up Productions will be at the Market Place, Buxton, on Saturday July 7, between 10am and 3pm.