Circus brings Billy Smart’s tradition to Portsmouth
by Mischa Allen, thenews.co.uk
30 March 2013
In an age of computer games and 3D technology, some might think the traditional entertainment provided by a circus has had its day.
But Gary Smart definitely doesn’t agree.
As grandson of the legendary Billy Smart, he jointly runs the famous circus named after his grandfather - and has now brought it to Southsea Common as part of its first full tour for more than 30 years.
Although Billy Smart’s Circus was in the city 10 years ago, it hasn’t been on a proper tour since 1971, when it stopped because of the huge cost of transporting the crew, performers and animals.
Now animals are, of course, not included. But the appeal of the kind of old-fashioned family entertainment provided by the circus is becoming more and more popular.
Sussex-based Gary, 58, says: ‘It’s live entertainment, so it’s not just being sat on your Xbox and seeing an image on a screen. It’s got a modern spin on it and there is plenty for the audiences to see. They can also get up and take part in sections of it now.’
He hopes the circus will attract a new generation, adding: ‘There are kids who haven’t been exposed to this kind of live entertainment before. There is no image trickery – what you see is the skill of that person performing. You only have to watch the kids’ faces so see how impressed they are.’
Until Thursday, April 7, a range of artists and performers will take to the stage inside the 1,200-seat heated Big Top on the Common.