Bourton-on-the-Water based Gifford's Circus spends Christmas in London Selfridges store

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Juggling duo Bibi and Bichu - photo by Maria Shickle Juggling duo Bibi and Bichu - photo by Maria Shickle

A COTSWOLD circus has ventured away from its comfortable country home this Christmas to perform under the bright lights of London.

More used to touring village greens and parks in and around the South West of England, the famous family-run vintage Gifford’s Circus is spending December entertaining shoppers at Selfridges.

The cast of Gifford’s, based at Folly Farm near Bourton-on-the-Water, has been invited to perform a Winter Circus at the world-renowned Oxford Street store from November 30 to December 24.

The cast is performing a 15-minute show twice every hour, seven days a week on the fourth floor of Selfridges. A replica Big Top has been created by the Giffords’ art team to give visitors the feel of being at the circus, rather than a top end department store.

Founder Nell Gifford, who started the circus with her husband Toti, said she was delighted to have been invited to perform at such a prestigious location in the run-up to Christmas.

She said she had emailed the store and asked to put on a performance, but never expected to receive a reply.

“It is very special to be able to take a bit of Gifford charm to London and we relish the opportunity to entertain weary shoppers,” she said. “I just really like Selfridges;:it’s a fun and interesting place. We want the performance to be sophisticated and child-like so both children and adults can enjoy it.

“It’s going to be a completely different audience to what we’re used to.

“This is the people’s circus and it’s really lovely that people from all over make the pilgrimage to the show. The Cotswolds does have a claim to it, though.”

Director Cal McCrystal, who has worked on box office hits including The Amazing Spider Man 2 and The World’s End, said the performance and the artwork would be a very different aesthetic to the corporate Christmas Selfridges usually adopt.

“Every 15-minute show will be slightly different to the last,” he said.

“We’ll be in the middle of all the Christmas decorations and the toy demonstrations, it’s going to be very sumptuous.”

Every summer, Gifford’s Circus hits the road to tour areas of Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire. This is the first time the cast will have performed in London.

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