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What is the Invisible Circus in Bristol?

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The Invisible Circus is a performing arts group based in Bristol, United Kingdom, that originated as an underground circus in 2002. The company is run by street performers and presents a mixture of live music, cabaret theater and traditional circus acts, including acrobats, magicians and object manipulators. Doug Francisco founded the circus as part of an art space movement in which unpaid street performers temporarily occupy and decorate abandoned buildings to host unofficial events.

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What is the Invisible Circus in Bristol?
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The Invisible Circus has evolved from an independent underground coalition to a commercialized establishment. As of 2015, Creation Space is the company’s headquarters, but the performers still find unconventional locations to renovate and use for many short-term shows. Doug Francisco is the ringmaster and a world traveler who draws from his eccentric experiences to present theatrical characters through stories, songs and comedy. Other recurrent acts include the house band, Carny Villains, and a group of psychologically warped animal characters, known as the ZigZagZoo.

The company promotes fluid art expression through blended performance media and diverse collaborations, and members spread the social circus message by hosting Invisible Youth courses and events for children. All of the individual acts are available for hire, and the company offers performance-related services, such as themed circuses, set designers and makeup artists. An acquaintance of the company filmed a feature documentary, entitled “Invisible Circus: No Dress Rehearsal,” which provides a three-year look at the group’s traveling performances, struggles with eviction authorities and resistance to commercialization.

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