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What Will Fill the Circus Void?

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Well, we’re about a month away from the final show of the “Greatest Show on Earth,” happening this May. The closing of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, a 146 year-old show, is due to the decline of ticket sales — which dipped even lower as the company retired its touring elephants. “This, coupled with high operating costs, made the circus an unsustainable business for the company,” says Kenneth Feld, the chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, the producer of Ringling.

Maybe this is just a moment of progress for our society.
We can celebrate the emancipation of the many animal performers.
But what will fill the void? Will it be the theatre? Can it be the theatre?
Is the sustainability of live performance at risk?
Should we be worried?
Will a virtual reality circus fill the void?
Whether you were pro animals in the circus or against them, pro clown or anti clown, there was something magical about the circus.
For many families, the circus is a generational tradition of shared experience. I can remember the first time my parents took me and my siblings to the circus. My parents can remember when their parents took them. When the circus came to town, it was a big family treat — something that didn’t happen all the time, something your parents made sure to save up for. Maybe you got some peanuts. Or popcorn. Or cotton candy. But most of the time, you always laughed a lot, you oohed and ahhed a lot at the spectacle.
The circus has been a milestone for many peoples childhood.
What is a new generation left with?
Should we be worried?
What will fill the void?

I completely understand why the circus had to change it’s practices. I do understand why it’s having to close, but I do grieve for the new generations. It’s so strange to think something like the circus will be no more…an old tale we’ll get to tell our grandkids, “When I was your age…”


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