The centenary season will feature the most popular
acts to have appeared at the Hippodrome during the last ten years.
Owner and producer Peter Jay has cherry-picked
some of the world's best artists to perform at the venue.
The former pop star, who found fame in the 1960s
with Peter Jay and The Jaywalkers, likened the production to a greatest
Alonso the clown has travelled from Mexico to take part in the
100th anniversary season.
"I start looking for acts as soon as the season
finishes in September and scour the whole world," said Mr Jay.
Last year's hit, the Velez brothers from Ecuador,
are back with their terrifying routine on a huge wheel which skims
the big top.
Following their appearance at the Hippodrome, they
are now one of the owner's favourite artists.
"The Velez brothers are an amazing act, said
"It's the best of its type in the world. I
watched it every day twice a week last year," he added.
But the South Americans are not the only performers
who will be pulling off feats which defy the limits of the human
Mexico's Flying Rodogels will be somersaulting
through the air from trapeze to trapeze, while Vladislav, from Russia,
will be displaying his agility and strength at speed on the straps.
One of the most amazing sights is Berkin,
a 23-year-old contortionist from Kazakhstan, who squeezes into a
He started training to be a contortionist with
his father when he was just six years old and has been practising
his box act since he was 16.
"I made the box six years ago. The first time
I made the box I was small, I made a box for my age that was big
for me," said Berkin.
"I used to go inside every day for six years,
so I grow up and the box stayed the same. That's why I can fit inside
- it takes ages!"
This year's production features no animals, but
the famous water finale remains part of the programme.
One of the swimmers takes a gasp of air mid-performance.
The sinking water feature was restored to working
order by Peter Jay in 1981, two years after he took over the Hippodrome.
The ring, which transforms into a pool holding
70,000 gallons of water, is just one of three circus water spectacles
left in the world.
It features fountains which hit the roof and this
year will be the centre piece of the Jan Baine swimmers' display.
However, this time last week it was one of things
responsible for giving Peter Jay a headache, along with the fact
that some performers still weren't in the country.
"Our last act arrived from Kazakhstan yesterday,
the water is all fixed now, it's working perfectly. It's a stressful
time," he said.
"Once the show has been on a week I relax,
but at moment I'm worrying about all the things that can go wrong,"