Showcase - Sideshow Illusions
We can present single or multiple sideshows inside or outside here are a few examples of how we have worked with venues and festivals to thrill, excite and entertain their visitors.
Showzam Festival - Olympia, Winter Gardens, Blackpool
“Roll up! Roll up! The carnival freak show's back from retirement to shock and amaze” - Jonathan Brown, The Independent
The Winter Gardens Olympia is a huge indoor venue with a wonderful history of presenting entertainment attractions. We have presented sideshows as part of the ten day Showzam Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. We worked with a great team of fellow artists and companies to transform, in a few days, the Olympia Hall into a Palace of amusement and entertainment. Each year the sideshows were open from 11am to 6pm with up to 4000 visitors a day enjoying the free attractions in Showzam Central.
Roundhouse - Professor Vanessa's Wondershow
Roundhouse Circus Fest April 2012
The vast Roundhouse space was transformed into a huge, colourful, carnival of sideshows.
“This promenade performance oozes atmosphere” The Guardian
"the adults are screaming louder than the children. Roll up for a bit of heartwarming wonder.” The Big Issue
“if ever there were a reason to have a promenade show, it would be to wander round Jon Marshall’s painstakingly restored/recreated sideshow illusions, which form the heart of the production and still have the power not only to entertain but to baffle the sell-out crowd. Six - including the intriguing Butterfly Girl, introduced by that loud-suited epitome of a showman Marshall himself." Liz Arratoon, The Stage
Six of our Sideshows arranged around the perimeter of the wonderful Roundhouse main auditorium, lit beautifully by talented lighting designer Tim Lutkin, with a centre stage and area for intriguing parades and spectacular circus acts right in the middle of the audience, arranged and choreographed by Mark and Sarah Copeland of the Insect Circus. Amy Saunders, the amazing Miss Behave introduced Professor Vanessa’s Wondershow and the audience of all ages were able to roam from show to show, watch the acts, have a drink at the bar area and play Pinball Geof’s great vintage machines.
In Feb 2010 in the Matcham Bar at Blackpool's Grand Theatre I told lighting designer Tim Lutkin of my ambition to have several of our shows in one venue presented as a promenade production. He replied that if ever it happened he would light it. And he did! Professor Vanessa Toulmin facilitated the contacts with Leila Jones, Roundhouse Circus Fest Director, who came up to Blackpool to see the shows. Vanessa suggested we involve Marisa Carnesky and Mark Copeland and Sarah Munro's Insect Circus. We had preliminary visits to the Roundhouse and meetings at the National Fairground Archive at the University of Sheffield, Amy Saunders, Miss Behave, and Marawa the Amazing, Super Hooper, were invited to join the team.
The resulting show sold out before first night and attracted brilliant reviews.
Butlin's World of Wonder
Live Sideshows disappeared from UK fairgrounds in the 1970s - Butlins have brought them back!
We were asked to devise, build, install and train the cast for live sideshows that would be part of the Butlin's Bognor Regis Resort renovation of their fairground, to open February half-term 2013. The Sideshow Illusions' team including Steve, Dave Whatt and Richard Morriss worked with Mark and Sarah of the Insect Circus and a team of contractors and suppliers including Northern Light to create a sideshow theatre called Sir Billy's World of Wonder with three new and unique shows that complemented the fairground's 1950s theme. The sideshow frontage is vitally important and Mark Copeland's designs have been terrific!
Step right in, if you dare, you will see strange sights, exotic exhibits and you won't believe your eyes! The Werewolf -materialises in Professor Zomb's laboratory to terrify the guests, Madame Pavlova - the sensation of the fairgrounds - a psychic living half-lady intrigues and can she read your mind?Arachnia - Discovered in a rain forest and brought to Butlin's Fairground she is a living, breathing half girl-half spider - don't get too close!
Butlin's Minehead 2014
A new World of Wonder Sideshow theatre was built for Minehead's fairground renovation and the shows devised for Bognor transferred to thrill the Minehead resort guests. Three new sideshows were created for the Butlin's World of Wonder at Bognor. Mark and Martha Copeland and Sarah Munro's design's are brilliant. The shows produce screams, laughs and gasps -
Igorstein - The creation of life - See what happens in the Galvanometer when our Dr tries to assemble a human? Will the experiment succeed? Beware when Igorstein comes to life, right in front of your eyes.
Battina - Butlin's Zoo presents the only half-girl, half-bat in captivity. a truly amazing creature. Be prepared to run when you discover what she feeds on.
Dungeon of Doom - The Dungeon Master introduces you to his instruments of torment, watch out for the tickle terror! Be amazed when you see a living, talking, disembodied head!
Tattoo Tea Party - Event City, Manchester
2014 and 2015 - We presented Dr Phantasma's Ten in One Show for the two-day tattoo convention in 2014 and we were asked back in 2015!
Our 40 foot long banner line and front bally stage made a great feature main stage for our strange and unusual performers and other acts.
Dippers and Dunkers Festival - Old Town, Margate
Director: Heather Sawney, Thanet Council
Outdoor site on paved area. The site is split between two squares either side of Margate’s Old Town Hall, just a stones throw from the site of Dreamland Amusement Park where many of our shows were presented in the 1950s and 60s. We worked closely with Heather to provide five sideshows operating all day for two days as part of Dippers and Dunkers in 2009 and 2010. It’s a tight squeeze to fit the sideshows in the two squares and a JCB had to be called in to attempt to remove a flower stand. Overnight security, generator power supply, cast toilet facilities and access to water for our ballast was provided and we used pedestrian barriers, dressed with our banners and bunting to control access. Visitors queued for entrance and were taken on a promenade production style journey through the shows.
Fright Night - pedestrian area side of City Hall, Sheffield
National Fairground Archive/ Yellow Bus events
Outdoor venue on a paved pedestrian area and road. Fright Night in Sheffield is one of the UKs largest Halloween events attracting around 30,000 people between 3pm and 8pm. Generator power and Heras fencing was supplied. The aim of letting as many as possible see the sideshows was achieved with a continuous moving queue that stopped for a shorter that normal presentation of each attraction.
Sheffield Fayre - Norfolk Heritage Park
National Fairground Archive/Sheffield City Council
We've been booked to appear every year since 2010 at this immensely popular two-day event in Norfolk Heritage Park, Sheffield. We've presented a show row of sideshows, shown our Dr Phantasma's Ten in One Show in a tent, and one year the Flea Circus with Dr Diabolo's weird and wonderful Strange but True Show, a brilliant Cabinet of Curiosities attraction, were the feature shows along with a programme of street theatre and arena acts.