Waldo's Circus of Magic and Terror at The Bristol Old Vic

Waldo's Circus of Magic and Terror at The Bristol Old Vic

Posted on: 03 Jan 2023

Waldo’s Circus of Magic & Terror is a new circus theatre musical and spectacular story of love and resistance set in a travelling circus. It arrives at Bristol Old Vic from 11 March through 1 April 2023.

Set in 1933 Germany, where fascist whispers have grown to shouts, Waldo and his eclectic troupe of acrobats and clowns dedicate themselves to their craft. Concealed within the glamour of Waldo’s big top, stories of love, courage and resistance are revealed as the world outside this remarkable circus troupe becomes darker and more dangerous. The story is informed by historical research and the experiences of real performers. The star of Waldo’s Circus is ‘Krista’ played by Abbie Purvis with Dominic Owen as ‘Gerhard’. Waldo’s Circus of Magic & Terror is a large scale collaboration between D/deaf, disabled, and non-disabled artists and creators and tours nationally in 2023.


Waldo’s Circus of Magic & Terror at Bristol Old Vic

Waldo’s Circus of Magic & Terror is presented by Extraordinary Bodies based on an original idea by Hattie Naylor (Ivan and the Dogs, The Night Watch) and co-written by Hattie Naylor and Jamie Beddard (Messiah, The Elephant Man). The composer is Charles Hazlewood (Artistic Director, Paraorchestra) and it is co-directed by Claire Hodgson (Diverse City) and Billy Alwen (Cirque Bijou). Waldo’s Circus is co-produced with Bristol Old Vic and Theatre Royal Plymouth. All shows are Chilled Performances, BSL interpreted, captioned and audio described. It premieres at Bristol Old Vic with National press night on 16 March.

Extraordinary Bodies acknowledge the Holocaust and the millions of Jewish victims, and other groups* including Disabled people who were targeted for persecution and murder. In making this work, the company affirms its unwavering commitment to counter antisemitism, racism, and other forms of intolerance that may lead to group-targeted violence.

The world of Waldo’s Circus of Magic & Terror takes the painted-on glamour, skilful risk-taking, fierce loyalty, and the idea that ‘the show must go on’ as its narrative pillars. Set in 1933 when the law for “Prevention of Offspring with Hereditary Diseases” is passed, Waldo the Ringmaster with his travelling circus of outcasts and misfits, acrobats and aerialists, lovers and fighters are surviving in the fervour of Hitler’s dictatorship.

Extraordinary Bodies is a collaboration between Cirque Bijou and Diverse City, who have worked together for the last decade creating multi-disciplinary circus shows with D/deaf, disabled and non-disabled artists. 

If you can't make the Bristol Old Vic shows then catch Waldo’s Circus of Magic & Terror on tour around the UK during 2023 including shows at:

11 March - 1 April 2023 : Bristol Old Vic 

20 - 22 April 23023 : The Lowry Salford Quays  

26 - 29 April 2023 : Theatre Royal Plymouth

4 - 6 May 2023 : MAST Mayflower Studios, Southampton

20 May 2023 : Lighthouse Poole

7 June 2023 : Brighton Dome

Tickets for the Bristol shows are available here.

Photograph credit Paul Blakemore and design by Studio Stiles


Article by:

Brendan Murphy

Bristol born and bred despite the name, Brendan has been working in the digital media sector for the last 10 years and advertising for the last 20 years. A wealth of knowledge about the city and more importantly at how to help businesses get as much online exposure as possible. Call Brendan on 07876 735153 or email Brendan@365bristol.com.