Roll up Roll up to AstleyFest

Posted in News on by Appetite
Roll up Roll up to AstleyFest Roll Up, Roll Up to AstleyFest celebrating the father of modern day circus – Philip Astley
Inspired by the astonishing acts, activities and acrobats that made Astley’s original circus so famous across the globe, AstleyFest brings the circus home to Newcastle-under-Lyme to celebrate the man who first made it happen over 250 years ago. Supported by National Lottery players through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and sponsored by local businesses, AstleyFest celebrates the life and times of the father of modern day circus, Philip Astley, and his family’s link to Staffordshire.
Inspired by Astley’s love and working relationship with horses, Leopold’s Equestrian Productions will bring 3 exquisite equine displays to entertain the crowds which includes Harley - The Educated Pony who can say yes and no, count, add up and much more. There will be circus performances from the acrobatic Jesters; a juggling display with gadgetry and mayhem by Pangottic Circus-Theatre; a larger than life Stilt Ringmaster by Artizani; a marvellous Astley-inspired magic show by Andrew Van Buren & Allyson, and the premiere of Roll Up, Roll Up by New Vic Theatre working with local performers, writers and choirs to tell an Astley-inspired story.
Highly acclaimed magician illusionist and circus skills performer, Andrew Van Buren, along with his family, have a rich history performing and being involved in all aspects of show business. The Van Burens, from Newcastle-under-Lyme, have been integral in unearthing and raising the profile of Astley in the local area as well as around the world. Andrew only recently flew to Finland, Brussels and Monaco to share the story of Astley so he really does attract the attention of a global audience. Andrew is also co-founder of the Philip Astley Project and helped devise a large programme of work funded by the National Lottery to celebrate and share Astley’s life, with AstleyFest being a key part of this. Andrew will be performing his own Astley style Victorian Wonders show at AstleyFest on 4 August.
Andrew Van Buren says ‘My family & I are passionate about show business and its history, particularly the circus and its creator Philip Astley. When you consider that Astley can be to Newcastle-under-Lyme what Shakespeare is to Stratford upon Avon, his importance is worldwide, but particularly so in his birthplace of Newcastle-under-Lyme, so working on this project is a dream come true for us as it pulls all our passions together in one place. It is important that people know about and show pride in Astley as he created the new art form of circus, which has spread worldwide, his influence is massive. I’m so proud to see all the amazing work take place to celebrate Astley and capturing people’s imaginations through the events we are doing. AstleyFest gives us a chance to all come together in a fun way, not only to be educated about Astley, but also entertained with some amazing performances”.
Kat Evans, Appetite Project Manager says “We are very excited about AstleyFest and I’m sure local people will have a wonderful time trying their hand at circus skills and seeing some fantastic circus acts. This National Lottery supported project has been a great opportunity for us to tell the story of Astley and we hope to build on this year on year”.
AstleyFest will take place at Lyme Valley Park on 4 August 2018, 12-5pm.
To find out more about AstleyFest visit
To find out more about the Philip Astley Project visit


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