Circus Trivia Questions and Answers
What is a circus?
A: A circus is a group of performers that may include clowns, acrobats, trained animals, and many other acts.
Who is credited with being the father of the modern circus
A: Philip Astley.
When did Philip Astley open the first circus in England?
A: In 1768.
Early circuses were almost exclusively made up of what?
A: Equestrian skill demonstrations with a few other types of acts to link the horsemanship performances.
As the circus developed through the next fifty years, large
scale theatrical "what", became a significant feature?
A: Battle reenactments.
The 'traditional' format, whereby a ringmaster introduces a
varied selection of acts developed in the latter part of what century?
A: The 19th.
The 'traditional' format continued almost universally to be
the main style of circus up until when?
A: The 1970s.
The earliest modern circuses were performed in what type of
A: Open air structures with limited covered seating.
From the late 18th to late 19th century, circus buildings
were built with various types of what?
A: Seating, a centre ring and occasionally a stage.
When were the traditional large circus tents, commonly
known as 'Big Tops' introduced?
A: In the mid 19th century as touring circuses superseded static venues.
The Big Tops eventually became the what?
A: The most common venue and remain so to the present day.
Contemporary circuses perform in a variety of venues
A: Tents, theatres and casinos.
Many circus performances are still held in a what?
A: A ring.
What is the usual diameter of the circus ring?
A: 42 ft.
This dimension was adopted by whom in the late 18th
A: Philip Astley.
In Ancient Rome, what was a circus?
A: It was a building for the exhibition of horse and chariot races, equestrian shows, staged battles, and other events.
The circus of Rome were similar to the ancient Greek what?
What was done for events that involved re-enactments of
A: The circus was flooded with water.
What was the first circus in the city of Rome?
A: It was the Circus Maximus, in the valley between the Palatine and Aventine hills.
The final version of the Circus Maximus could seat how many
A: 250,000 people.
What was it was made of?
What were its measurements?
A: It measured 400m in length and 90m in width.
After the fall of Rome, large circus buildings fell out of
use as what?
A: Centers of mass entertainment.
Instead, itinerant performers, animal trainers and showmen
A: They travelled between towns throughout Europe, performing at local fairs.
Who was Philip Astley?
A: A cavalry officer from England who set up the first modern amphitheatre for the display of horse riding tricks.
Astley was the first person to create a space where all the
various acts were what?
A: Brought together to perform a show.
When did the Royal Circus open in London?
A: On November 4th, 1782 by Charles Dibdin and his partner Charles Hughes.
What did, Astley establish in 1782?
A: The Amphithéâtre Anglais in Paris, the first purpose-built circus in France.
He followed it with how many other permanent circuses in
cities throughout Europe?
Englishman John Bill Ricketts brought the first what to the
A: Modern circus.
Where did he began his theatrical career?
A: With Hughes Royal Circus in London in the 1780s.
He travelled from England in 1792 to establish his first
circus in what U.S. city?
On what date did the first circus building in the US open?
A: On April 3, 1793 in Philadelphia, where Ricketts gave America's first complete circus performance.
What famous American statesman attended a performance
there later that season?
A: George Washington.