Free circus-inspired festival at Stroud church

Published: Tuesday November 15, 2022

Two aerial performers posing in action. Purple, mysterious colour scheme.St Laurence’s Church in Stroud is opening its doors this weekend (19 and 20 November) to host a free festival including circus-inspired show, written and directed by a Gifford’s Circus Associate Director.

It’s being billed as an ‘aerial performance, with artists flying among the pillars, a master illusionist wowing audiences, amateur dance troupes… a beatbox performer and a traditional New Orleans Jazz band set’.

Andy Bewley, Associate Director of Giffords Circus and former Moscow State Circus and Gifford’s aerial strap artist and designer, Tatiana Ozhiganova have written and directed the circus show.

Simon Howell, Pioneer Minister said, “This Festival is about looking up.  Literally.  When you walk in may well see aerial artists flying about the upper echelons of the church – alongside other magical happenings from the premium artists in the field.

“But why? Well, as we come out of the anxieties of the pandemic and head into the anxieties of the ‘winter of discontent’, we wanted to offer a free event that helped us to look up and catch a glimpse of the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.  The source of this beauty is the Fountain of Life (God) whom countless numbers down the ages have come into the sacred space of the church to seek.  Not least, for this reason, we believe the festival absolutely belongs in church.”

Phil Coysh, Chair of the Organising Committee said; “We understand that this kind of performance inside a church may not fit everyone’s perspective and may be considered outrageous by a few but we would encourage all to come to have a look before they decide.  Our desire as a committee is to draw out feelings of wonder and hope and to provide respite or some fresh energy for the challenges of today’s world.  We believe that the power within our venue and our festival will do just that.”

It takes place on 19 and 20 November. Find out more at

imagination: opening new paths to faith

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