Newcastle wins award for national circus celebrations

Newcastle-under-Lyme Business Improvement District (BID) has won a national award for putting the town on the map during this year’s celebrations of the 250th anniversary of the modern circus.

The BID won the Place Marketing Award at the 2018 National BID Awards in Cambridge on 9 November for its event The Homecoming 2018 in association with arts programme Appetite.

The Homecoming 2018 brought the magic of contemporary circus into the heart of Newcastle town centre on Saturday 30 June. Some of the UK’s best circus performers entertained the crowds in a thrilling day of acrobatics, theatre performance, juggling, comedy and more. And the entertainment continued into the evening, with performers visiting nightspots across the town in The Homecoming By Night, delivered in partnership with The Philip Astley Project.

The event was part of a programme of activities across the summer to celebrate Newcastle’s Philip Astley, the man who invented the modern circus 250 years ago. The BID, working with a range of partners, ensured that the town was at the centre of the national celebrations.

Promoting Newcastle town centre

Newcastle BID works to promote the town centre, develop a distinctive Newcastle experience, and encourage growth and development. Its work has seen footfall rise dramatically over the last few years – there have been an extra one million visits to the town centre this year compared to 2017.

A thriving events programme has played a big part in this, with The Homecoming joined this year by two music festivals, a food and drink festival and Easter and Halloween specials, all attracting more people into the town. The final event of 2018 is the big Christmas lights switch-on on Saturday 17 November.

Amy Williams, Newcastle BID manager, said: “The Homecoming event was one of the highlights of the Circus250 programme in Newcastle to celebrate the incredible achievements of Philip Astley. We wanted people across the country to know that the inventor of the modern circus was born right here in Newcastle. The events programme, in partnership with lots of organisations, helped to achieve that and put the town on the map. We’re absolutely delighted that our work has been recognised at a national level.”