On World Circus Day, 21st April 2018, Staffordshire-based, Realise charity, honoured the father of modern circus, Philip Astley, with the unveiling of a series of bespoke 15ft metalwork sculptures.
The Realise charity is dedicated to improving communities across Staffordshire and the new sculptures, funded by the charity with support from the Business Improvement District, situated on George Street in the birth town of Philip Astley are the UK’s first permanent monument to Philip Astley and his legacy of the circus.
The sculptures were designed by Newcastle-based Candida Kelsall and then manufactured by local apprentices from leading apprenticeship provider, PM Training and feature metalwork silhouettes of a ringmaster surrounded by two horses on pyramid bases.
Apprentice, Liam Robinson, 17, from Tunstall said: “Working on these sculptures has been amazing and seeing them installed has made me extremely proud.”
He continues; “I’ve loved applying what I’ve learnt to this project, and it has certainly made me interested in the circus.”
Apprentices from PM Training carried out the welding, cutting, assembly, installation and landscaping of the sculptures supported by PM Training’s Artworks Manager, Phil Brown.
Phil said: “To me, these projects are important because of the skills we share with the young apprentices. They get the experience needed to move into jobs and careers in engineering.”
The sculptures are supporting a movement in the local area to improve the awareness of Philip Astley and his creation of the circus alongside the works of the Philip Astley Project.
The unveiling on World Circus Day featured not only the sculptures but a new plaque dedicated to honouring Philip Astley in his birth town.
The event unveiling was led by internationally acclaimed magician & illusionist, Andrew Van Buren, the ambassador from the Federation Mondiale du Cirque, Zsuzanna Mata, who had travelled from Monaco to celebrate the occasion, The Mayor Councillor Simon White and performers from No Fit State Circus.
Realise charity has supported the installation of metalworks sculptures across the county, including ‘The Trout’ installed in 2015 on the Nelson roundabout, as part of its environmental improvement programme.