Thousands of visitors helped turn Blackpool into ‘circus town’ for the return of its annual Showzam! festival.
Organisers say more than 25,000 people attended workshops, shows and free performances throughout the town centre during the five-day festival, which ended on Wednesday.
Everything from a South American street circus world premier to dinosaurs stalking the streets, a jetpack wearing roller-skater and a Swedish acrobatics duo and much more besides entertained the crowds.
The Winter Gardens hosted four days of free events for families, while Blackpool Tower Circus played host to South American circus sensation Circolombia – showcasing daring feats of circus skills, a rousing hip hop inspired soundtrack performed live and incredible physical prowess to captivated crowds, as well as the Carnival Ball.
LeftCoast artistic director Michael Trainor said: “Showzam! 2015 has been incredibly well received by enthusiastic audiences and has been an absolute delight to work.
“We’re thrilled to have been able to bring such high quality international acts to Blackpool, truly putting us on the map as the North West’ s capital of circus.
“None of this would have been possible without the support of our festival programmers SeaChange Arts, the team at VisitBlackpool, our fabulous venues Winter Gardens, Blackpool Tower, Pleasure Beach, Blackpool BID and the many local businesses who have hosted our artists – all of whom have been hugely supportive.”
Michael Williams, general manager at the Winter Gardens, said: “It has been fantastic to see such huge numbers of people inside the Winter Gardens enjoying the spectacular free shows taking place throughout the building.
“Showzam! is a great opportunity to bring people into our fabulous spaces many of which don’t often get seen by the public.”
And general manager of Blackpool Tower Kate Shane added: “Having Circolombia in the Blackpool Tower Circus has been spectacular and to see the show sold out on the final performances is a testament to the quality and skill of the artists.
“The Carnival Ball is always a highlight and this year we were delighted to welcome it back to the iconic ballroom. Showzam! is a festival which the whole town gets behind and this year proved that again.”
Away from the town centre, Blackpool Pleasure Beach’s theatrical team Stageworks Worldwide Productions hosted free workshops, ranging from face painting to aerial hoop.
Janet Walker, of Stageworks, said: “Blackpool Pleasure Beach has been thrilled to have the opportunity to get behind Showzam! once again.
“It has been fantastic to see children and families having the chance to learn new skills for free.”
Anna Hassan, relationship manager at funding body Arts Council England, said: “Showzam! is a wonderful chance for people to engage with and enjoy different and diverse acts.
“Circolombia in the stunning Blackpool Tower Circus was both exciting and impressive and it is hugely positive to see such a high quality show right here in the North West of England.”
Coun Graham Cain, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for tourism and leisure, said: “We’re really pleased with how Showzam! has gone.
“It has, again, been a real success and we’re very happy with the tone and quality of the shows and the level of interest and engagement.”