Five giant puppets walk side by side down the street. From left to right, a Rhino in a blue coat, a man with a black moustache and a burgundy top hat, a zebra in a tweed suit, an antelope in a corset, a monkey in a red jacket and yellow chequered trousers. Are all double the height of the people in the audience.

Carnival of the Animals

70 YEARS A SHOWMAN & CARNIVAL OF THE ANIMALS, Caramantran & Corn Exchange Newbury

Weds 30th May – Sun 2nd Sept 2018, Exhibition at West Berkshire Museum and a Sat 2nd Jun parade at Northbrook Street Newbury

Working with West Berkshire Museum and the National Fairground and Circus Archive, we celebrated the life of one of England’s most successful showmen, ‘Lord’ George Sanger, with an exhibition and a joyful street parade produced by 101.

On Sunday 2nd June, as part of Circus 250 - a national celebration of 250 years of UK circus, a remarkable menagerie of dapper, suited, giant animal puppets paraded to the sounds of a brass street band, The parade was led by a larger than life, 6 meter high puppet of circus impresario George Sanger, created in a collaboration between French puppet specialists Caranmantran and 101s making team.

Members of the Corn Exchange Youth Theatre played an ensemble of energetic performing monkeys, while a giant moving camel puppet followed on, and an elephant carrying a glamorous showgirl. Giant puppets of a zebra, rhino, antelope and gorilla, all wearing suits and waistcoats, performed dance choreography and interacted with the crowd.

Hailing from Newbury, George Sanger was born to a showman father and became an animal tamer, then later a circus proprietor, successfully running shows throughout the nineteenth century with his wife and brother John. He became the president of the Van Dweller’s Protection Association, dedicated to protecting the rights of showmen.

Artefacts specially chosen for the exhibition included remarkable photos of Sanger’s circus never before shown in the UK.

Watch a video of the parade from Newbury Weekly News

A woman in a suit with a giant monkey mask and a top hat poses for a photo with a smiling woman in a black t-shirt and a black and white bandana.
Five performers in suits and monkey heads crouch in the market place, the one in the middle holding a bright read flare.
A giant puppet man with a black pencil moustache and a burgundy top hat stands in Newbury Market Place looking at a female acrobat suspended in the air from a tripod. The woman looks to be the size of the puppet's head and tall hat.