LEWISBURG (WVDN) – It’s a night of marvel and magic, fun and excitement!
The 20th Century Circus invites you to step back in time with the glamour of the Roaring ’20s and the thrills of an old-fashioned night under the big top.
Founded in 2018, the show is the brainchild of performer Grant Murray of Sarasota, Fla. Having been an entertainer his entire life, Murray knew he wanted to design a show that provided the audience with a closeness to the performers unlike any other by focusing on a smaller, more intimate setting that is packed with thrills.
The spectacle showcases talent from across the United States and includes acts such as aerial acrobatics, fire performances, contortionism, and magic. The rarity of touring tent circuses makes the show even more special and pays homage to the bygone era in which these types of events were so popular.
With only a handful of such shows still on tour, many circuses have evolved to perform only in large theaters and arenas where the proximal value has become lost. The magic of the traveling big top is what inspired several members of the 20th Century Circus cast as children, with some even being second-generation circus performers. Together, they combine their skills and passion to awe audiences and restore the art of interactive and personal theatrics.
From building the backdrop to designing the rigging for stunts, Murray crafted 20th Century Circus from the ground up with the vision of preserving human connections. Every seat in the house is meant to be as close to the ring as possible for the most engaging experience, with a select number of front row seats providing the most daring views.
“You’re feeling the performance as if you’re almost in it,” Murray stated when describing the closeness of the front row to the ring and the high paced acts, such as his favorite — the 14-foot, roughly 200-lb., rotating ladder on which aerial stunts are performed.
“It’s a connection that’s a live, electric band between the performer and the audience that can only happen with proximity,” he explained.
The combination of the 1920’s inspired music, the interactive dialogue with the crowd, the glowing fireflies that make their way into the tent as the night sets in, and even the emanating warmth from the fire performances, create an ambiance and resonance that is hard to emulate in any other setting.
This showmanship is even more important than ever after the confines of the pandemic left people unable to gather and attend events. In an age of technology, many individuals had grown to take in-person performances for granted until they felt the effects of their absence and the loss of human connection.
Murray noticed that re-emerging from the restrictions of the pandemic seemed to remove the shell that had previously been a growing barrier between the audience and the performer; after a long period of lockdowns and canceled events, spectators became more eager for engaging, meaningful connections and to interact with their surroundings. On the topic of eager and engaging crowds, Murray remarked, “I’m really happy to be back in Lewisburg.”
Having traveled and performed in several towns across West Virginia, he described Lewisburg as a fun place to be with audiences to support that same spirit at his shows.
20th Century Circus will run for three more performance dates on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 7 p.m. this weekend at the grounds of the West Virginia Rennaissance Festival west of Lewisburg. If you want to experience the nostalgia of the big top while being awed by magical acts and acrobatics, it is recommended to purchase tickets ahead of time due to the limited seating.
Popcorn and cotton candy will also be available for purchase for those wishing to fully maximize the classic circus experience. Hopeful spectators can visit www.20thcenturycircus.com for ticket purchases or for more information on the event, and to catch a glimpse of what can be expected at 20th Century Circus — a roaring good time.
|20th Century Circus is in town for one more weekend. Catch them Friday, Saturday and Sunday night at the WV Rennaissance Festival grounds in Lewisburg.|
|Young fans and popcorn vendors alike can hardly contain their excitement for the fun under the big top.|
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