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The Ringmaster – Bath Spa University
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Bath Spa University student brings childhood circus to life

Thursday, 8 February, 2024

Bath Spa University BA Theatre Production student, Harvey Aylmer has brought his childhood dreams to life on stage in his hometown of Stroud. 

As a child, Harvey fostered a passion for the circus. Banding together with his friends, he would organise elaborate performances in his back garden, even training his dog Coco to jump through hoops.  

The performances became an annual tradition, with Harvey assembling a marquee in his garden and inviting people to watch the show to raise money for Cancer Research. 

Pursuing his love for the circus, Harvey left school at 16 and fell into a job at the same circus that had sparked his passion as a child. Harvey said that he secured the job by “writing the founder Nell Gifford a letter and posting it through one of their box offices.” 

Harvey took up two apprenticeships with the company before applying for Bath Spa University’s BA Theatre Production degree to pursue the art of production in an academic setting. It was here he began to write The Ringmaster – a play that would eventually take him full circle, back to a stage in his hometown. 

The Ringmaster tells the story of the performances Harvey and his friends would put on as children. Discussing The Ringmaster and his love for the circus, Harvey said: 

"It's a story I've wanted to write for quite a while. It's about friendship and the different challenges within creating the circus. I love the story aspect of it - creating a world where you forget about everything, where it’s the only thing that matters.” 

Working towards his end goal of becoming a circus producer, Harvey hopes to use his degree at Bath Spa and his experience on stage to offer the industry something entirely new. 

Harvey said: 

"I want to come in and add something different from what's already there in the circus industry." 

Working alongside his dedicated crew and cast members, Harvey is gearing up for the first performance of The Ringmaster which will debut on 10 February at the Cotswold Playhouse theatre in Stroud.  

Producer and Bath Spa University alum Scott Jerram discussed the upcoming show. He said: 

"The play comes down to friendship and the relationships that Harvey has. It's his story. He's put a lot of trust in me to help tell it." 

You can buy tickets for The Ringmaster on the Ticket Source website and follow Harvey’s ventures on his Instagram.

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