26 June 2020
Dear Caroline Dinenage,
Time to open the Circus tent
The current DCMS Guidance bars travelling circuses from opening.
A circus is effectively an outdoor event. The tent is simply a roof. Its walls can be opened, lifted up to provide ventilation, rearranged to provide exits at frequent intervals. There are no narrow corridors where people might pass too close. Seating is made to be set up in any configuration; the whole thing is designed to be rearranged at a moment's notice. It is what has been done down the years as circuses move from town to town.
Other elements - the ticket office, the toilets, even the catering facilities - are outside the Big Top in the open air. Like at a funfair. Funfairs may open from 4 July. Circuses may not.
The circus is the only professional live performance many people ever see. It is for families, and (for all we must go on protecting ourselves against the virus) families benefit from sharing such experiences, they strengthen society.
It is an affordable, portable art form for all communities. Circus performers live on site in their caravans, so they are always in a ‘bubble’. Since lockdown began, circuses have been stuck in situ, so each group's bubble is even more strongly established.
Please allow circuses to open on 4 July. Let the show begin.
General Secretary, Equity