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Gloucestershire Business News

Giffords Circus reveals first look at The Hooley artwork

Where: Various venues, including several in Gloucestershire

When: Thursday, April 9, to Sunday, September 27

Giffords Circus has been whipping up a storm across social media since first revealing the name of its 2020 show, The Hooley, back in December.

A hint of fairy wings and folk tales has captured imaginations across the globe and now Giffords Circus is proud to reveal the first look at its 2020 artwork.

The cover star of The Hooley is Nancy Trotter Landry, an audience favourite who is returning to the big top for the 20th anniversary show. Also returning is Lil Rice, the late Nell Gifford's niece, and much adored star of the 2019 show Xanadu, where she wowed audiences with her cyr wheel act and lead vocals. Lil is stepping into the role of producer at Giffords Circus having worked closely with Nell over the previous few years, to ensure that Nell's vision lives on.

Giffords Circus is once again excited to welcome back one of the UK's leading comedy geniuses, Cal McCrystal to direct The Hooley.

"There will be fairies, trolls, pixies, leprechauns, wild horses, Celtic music and dancing and all the madcap magic that Giffords is synonymous for," said Cal McCrystal. "Nell and I had a great time planning this show and as an Irishman I am excited for rehearsals to start to create what promises to be a most magical and poignant show to celebrate our 20th year."

Ahead of the tour opening on April 9, a map has been posted to all people on the Giffords Circus mailing list across the UK. The Hooley map has been designed, hand illustrated and produced by Joe Avery and Hannah Olley in the Giffords art department and covers the route of the Giffords Circus tour, from Minchinhampton and Fennells Farm in the west across to Chiswick House and Gardens and Morden Hall Park in the east. The map includes folk tales and legends along the route such as the white horses of Wiltshire, Neolithic earthworks, long barrows and standing stones.

To celebrate Giffords Circus' 20th year, 100 unique coins have been hand forged by the Giffords Circus trolls. Tweedy the clown will hide the coins at the circus grounds and some of the places detailed in the map. The coins will be hidden to coincide with the circus arrival at each ground and clues to their whereabouts will be shared on social media. Coins won't be buried and it will provide a fun family activity to search for them, a little like geocaching.

The Hooley is a celebration of the 20th anniversary of Giffords Circus. Nell wanted it to be a showstopper and it will be just that. So come and join our dance to the timeless Celtic rhythms and drums and get down with the fairy folk.

Tickets are on sale now for all grounds and further information about The Hooley can be found at 

Giffords Circus is opening earlier in the year on 9th April in time for the Easter holidays. Two new grounds have been added to the exciting 2020 tour - Bowood House & Gardens in Wiltshire and National Trust owned Morden Hall Park in south London.

Giffords Circus Cookbook, Recipes & Stories from a Magical Circus Restaurant by Nell Gifford & Ols Halas (Quadrille, £27) is published on March 26.

This extraordinary book is a celebration of the food that brings the circus and its audience together, alongside the story of the circus itself and its vibrant community. Nell shares stories from the circus tour whilst Ols cooks up a storm with accompanying recipes and feasts.

Full of colour, personalities, stories and images of the circus and its slow journey through the English summer countryside, the book's many recipes are nothing but delicious, joyful and hearty. It is available to preorder now at 

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