Hoofing It! Ballet on Saddle and Stage at Astley’s Circus

When: 3pm, Saturday 15th June, 2019
Where: The Channel, The Arts Centre, Melbourne

Theatre Heritage Australia (THA) has invited me to share my research on ballet at Astleys Amphitheatre in June. This is a free event for THA members and the general public – so do come along to cheer up a wintry Saturday!

From displays of horsemanship presented on bare earth near the Thames River, Astleys Amphitheatre rose to become famous as the originator of modern circus entertainment. Thrilling audiences with a continuously changing line-up, the Astleys presented everything from bee wrangling to tumblers, fireworks to battle re-enactments, not to mention trampolining, animal acts, musical automata and … quite a lot of ballet.

In this illustrated talk, I’ll introduce the eccentric world of Philip and John Astley, and reveal the unexpected connections between ballet and circus that shaped the Astleys’ fortunes from the 1780s to the early 1800s.

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