altB’s guide to Showzam! 2016

Akoreacro Klaxon

Blackpool’s annual festival of circus and performance returns from Saturday 13 February from 12noon at The Winter Gardens, Blackpool Tower Circus and surrounding areas for eight days and organisers LeftCoast have announced the stunning full line-up – most of which is free!

French circus stars AKOREACRO will make their UK premier in Blackpool Tower Circus with a seven-day run of high octane circus skills and music. Funny, wacky and spectacular, their company is made up of five musicians and six circus performers who will delight and excite you in the ring.

Don’t miss your chance to see this show which is currently selling out across Europe. Tickets for this cost £14 adults or £12 for children and can be bought online here or via 01253 290190.


BIVOUAC – one of Europe’s most talked about outdoor performance groups, feature pyrotechnics, a rock soundtrack and a weird and wonderful cast of blue figures. This “vibrant and anarchic” street procession includes 102 oil drums, a flame-breathing mechanical pooch, abseiling and a suitably surreal storyline plus students from Blackpool and The Fylde College in a specially commissioned section unique to Blackpool. This free and interactive 90-minute performance starts at 5.15pm on Saturday 13 February in St John’s Square and is set to be one of the hi-lights of this year’s festival.

Other acts include:

Barnard, Hicks & Jones (UK) perform “acts of the awesome and feats of fearless ferocity” in their sideshow themed ILLUSIONS, DELUSIONS, DELIGHT AND GLORY

Dutch CLOSE ACT THEATRE will challenge the senses with “an impetuous platoon of characters moving through the streets in a curious combination of strict discipline and frantic behaviour”

Barada Street
Barada Street

BARADA STREET as Richard (UK) and Juri (Kyrgyzstan) bring a playful blend of music, acrobatics, humour and the highest level of poetic elegance

LOUGAROCK, performed by Compagnie du Théâtre du Vertige (France) will see a 3m tall werewolf roam the streets on a steampunk engine

Street entertainment is the name of the game for De Stijle, Want (Netherlands) whose LUNAPARK show includes audience members entering a magical tent

Master balloonist Dizzy O’Dare’s GIANT BALLOON SHOW will take everything you know about balloons and twist it into an innovative theatrical experience featuring high energy comedy

French acts Les Goulus present THE HORSEMEN – Three comedic horse riders who leave crowds howling with their rather snooty take on how equestrian stars see the world… Gallic-style

SIDESHOW STORIES featuring mouth-juggler extraordinaire Rod Laver and hula-hooping funny girl Abigail Collins

Hocus Pocus Theatre
Hocus Pocus Theatre

UK troupe Hocus Pocus Theatre’s SHOW ON THE ROAD invites you into their wardrobe of Victorian theatrical wonder where you can dress up and take photos of yourself in silly costumes

BERNARD’S PUPPET BONANZA is presented by Pickled Image (UK) and is a disaster-prone old-time puppet show which sees backstage mayhem laid bare

PasParTouT (Germany) present COCK-TALES – a magnificently feathered and musical poultry trio who play the parts of human chickens with comedic brilliance

The Electric Sunshine Project (UK) present THE DIABOLICAL MR PUNCH a newly imagined puppet and live performance show that has been specially created in Blackpool for Showzam!


Abi Collins
Abi Collins

Showzam! has become a firm favourite in Blackpool’s annual entertainment calendar. Last year’s festival attracted more than 25,000 visitors, boosting the town’s economy by an estimated £2m. If you’re looking for over 18s only fun, the annual Carnival Ball at The Blackpool Tower Ballroom on the festival’s opening night; Saturday 13 February will be just your thing.

The theme is Decadence Through the Ages from the Roaring Twenties to the Swinging Sixties, from the excesses of the 80s and into the new millennium, dressing to impress, a ticket for the Carnival Ball is the best way to shake your showzam thing in adults-only style!

The night will be hosted by Abi Collins – one of the UK’s most original and in-demand cabaret performers and backed by the groove-laden beats of electro-swing band The Electric Swing Circus who fuse “saucy 1920’s swing and stomping electro beats” with a live set which includes electric double bass, vintage samples, gypsy-jazz guitar, keys, drums and synths.

This year’s ball has the biggest line up ever, packed full of the very best comedy, variety and burlesque. Including dance troupe The Flaming Feathers, Mr B, The Gentleman Rhymer, with his 1930s debonair meets 90s rave, unique ‘chap hop’ style, Rod Laver will excite and delight with his extraordinary oral juggling skills, Alexandra Hofgartner will fly high with her aerial performance and circus skills artist Claudia Contortionista brings her signature piece ‘the Marinella Bend’,

Rodney & Alexandra combine theatre and glamour in a sexy, funny and beautifully strange double-act, there will also be performances from Florian Brooks, Bruce Air Head, Felipe Reye and Oriana and stunning jazz soul diva Coco Malone with ‘a voice like chocolate poured over hot coals’ and a musical repertoire spanning from the 1920s right up to today will send shivers down your spine.

VIP Reserved Seating for the Showzam Ball is a snap at just £25 or Unreserved Balcony Tickets are £20. All tickets for Showzam events – including Carnival Ball and Akoreacro at The Tower Circus – are available to buy now here or by calling 01253 290190.

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    Melanie Whitehead is the Creative Director of The Old Electric, Blackpool's newest theatre. She previously worked for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre.

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