From Russia, with circus

The famous Great Moscow Circus is returning to South Africa – and Port Elizabeth – with an all-new, two-hour world premiere programme featuring more than 65 circus stars.

Russia’s most-famous calling card, the Great Moscow Circus has come to South Africa at a cost of R80-million, offering breathtaking but affordable family entertainment capturing the thrills and fun of the circus of yesteryear with the skill and daring of today’s heroes.

The circus opened its South African season at Johannesburg’s Montecasino on December 22, after which it will be visiting Nelspruit, Bloemfontein, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town.

The spectacular big top tent will be based at the Boardwalk in Port Elizabeth from Thursday to Sunday February 23 to 26, with bookings already open at Computicket.

The tent is air-conditioned with individual chair seating, creating a traditional European atmosphere where audience members are never more than 11m from the action.

“Whatever you do, don’t miss The Great Moscow Circus,” says executive producer Fred Hunter. “It’s full of wonder and delights – comedy, daring, finely honed skills and death-defying talent – circus mega-stars in a massive two-hour programme that will leave you breathless.”

Featuring more than 18 acts, including the best from Russia and the cream of the international circus world, the Great Moscow Circus has brought with it more than 100 tonnes of equipment.

It performs every circus favourite, from clowns and acrobats to death-defying daredevils, aerial artists, balancers, showgirls and more, all supported by a live circus band.

There is seating for 1700 people and the show contains no animal acts.

Back by popular demand is ringmaster Stanislav “Stas” Knyazkov, fresh from a US season with Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey, where he is said to have been an audience favourite.

“Don’t miss this circus. It is spectacular and thrilling, offering edge-of-your-seat entertainment for the whole family. You have never seen anything like this before. There is only one truly great circus and it’s this one,” Hunter said.

When The Great Moscow Circus last toured South Africa it played to rave reviews and was seen by more than 300000 people, he said.

Tickets for Port Elizabeth range in price from R195 to R545 per person.

The Great Moscow Circus is brought to South Africa by Theatre Tours International, who are also responsible for bringing shows such as the St Petersburg Ballet Theatre over.

The acts that form part of the circus have been hand-picked by producer Andrew Guild, who has been involved in the production of ballet, circus, classical music, folk dance, ice spectaculars and more for over 40 years.

During Soviet times, Guild made more than 250 visits to Moscow and travelled extensively through Russia and the Soviet states.

Fluent in Russian and married to a former Russian ballerina, he has brought more than 7000 performers to South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and the UK.

Hunter, too, is well known for his commitment to bringing world-class entertainment to South Africa, running previous tours of the Great Moscow Circus, the St Petersburg Ballet Theatre and shows such as the South African Military Tattoo.

It takes a massive team to bring a major international circus tour to South Africa. The 65 Russian and international stars will be joined by an equal number of South Africans, creating direct and indirect employment as the circus hits the road.

Bookings are at Computicket or on 0861-915-8000; for more information visit

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