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Circus is in town!
JUGGLERS, clowns and acrobats — the spring term break would not be complete without a circus to keep fidgeting children still for an hour or so.
And, with death-defying jumps and awe-inspiring feats, it’s a treat for the adults as well.
Jay Miller’s Circus is making its tenth visit to Witney, at The Leys recreation ground, from Friday, May 22,until Sunday, May 31.
And with more than 20 years of experience in the circus industry, owner Jon Miller promises that this year’s show will not fail to impress.
Not giving too much away, Mr Miller, 47, said: “We aim to entertain all of the family, there is no outstanding act that fills out the whole show.
“There is something, we think, for everybody.
“The very last act is like ‘wow’.
“There is a good live show, and then at the last moment, something happens.”
The 30-strong group of entertainers have just three months to put together a new show each year at its base in Bournemouth, before the crew begin touring the south-east of England to perform the new routines.
This year, acrobats from Bulgaria, Ukraine, Russia, Moldavia, and Hungary have been recruited to give the show a continental flavour.
Using animal-free acts since 1997, Mr Miller said that the show still uses traditional routines, with all the real danger loved by so many.
The circus’ most memorable brush with the real dangers of the profession was when Peppi the clown plunged 40ft from the top of the tent, shattering his ankle and back.
However, the eager patient was back in the ring after just six weeks.
Mr Miller said: “We have not had any serious accidents during the 22 years. We have had the minor blip, but it’s live entertainment.
“At the end of the day, the circus is a risky business, and people want to see danger.”
The dad-of-four’s first taste of circus life was when a travelling show performed in his home county of Surrey.
Sneaking out of his house one day, Mr Miller came across a truck full of Indian elephants, and was given the job of keeper by a member of the circus.
But when it was time to go, the schoolboy hopped on the back of the truck and ran away with the circus.
Mr Miller said: “It only lasted 24 hours as my parents knew where it had gone, so I stayed until Sunday, but was back to school on Monday.”
Mr Miller trained and qualified as a civil engineer, working in the building trade until the mid-80s recession.
And when the same circus returned, Mr Miller left for good.
In 1987, the performer met wife Liz, who was a juggler at the same circus.
The couple have four children — Charlotte, 15, Jodi, 12, Paige, eight, and four-year-old Jon Junior.
The two oldest offspring both perform in the circus, with Charlotte juggling using her feet and Jodi hula-hooping up to 30 rings at a time.
Mr Miller said: “We have talented kids. They learn everything, it’s what they do.
“They see it every day, and so they just join in.”
To catch Jay Miller’s Circus, live performances are at 3pm and 7pm daily. For more information, call the box office, on 07976 655180.