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Your circus themed party - top tips for event planning and entertainment

Back in 2018 we were tasked with producing an entertainment extravaganza for a Cirque le Soir inspired New Years Eve party. Cirque le Soir is a chain of nightclubs which are renowned for their circus style entertainment with a risque twist - they feature all the weird and wonderful from creepy clowns to freakshow acts, sexy Burlesque shows, fetish performers and anything downright strange that will get tongues wagging. It's like the Greatest Showman on acid, and this was exactly the 'vibe' our client was looking for.

So what's the secret recipe to planning a circus themed party that will have guests talking about it for years to come? Here are our top tips...

1. Plan it yourself? Or hire an event planner?

An experienced event planner has insider knowledge and connections that you may not, and they can anticipate problems before they arise. It's a skill that's often undervalued, but we really couldn't recommend it enough. If you do decide to plan your own bash, make sure you spend lots of time researching the various pitfalls, checking out reviews of suppliers, reading forums with comments from other amateur party planners, and familiarising yourself with the 'problem' parts of the event e.g. allowing a contingency for late arrivals or poor weather, making sure there are enough toilet facilities, catering for guests with intolerances, and so on.

2. Venue and decor

In this case, the client's mansion made for the perfect venue. But if you don't have an entertainment wing with a 3-lane bowling alley then fear not! A blank canvas will allow you to decorate it entirely to suit the theme - just make sure that you allocate plenty of budget for circus tent style drapes, illuminated letters, props, tables, seating areas, staging for performers/band/DJ, bar area and so on. Otherwise local venues may be decorated and equipped so that you only need to add a few small details to theme it, which will save you time and money.

3. Food and drink

Will you be catering for guests with finger food, or a sit down meal? Or maybe they just need a well-equipped bar! Hire professionals as they will think of all the things you won't, such as how much ice to bring, what glasses to serve drinks in, rubbish disposal, allergies and intolerances, waitress service, and preparation space. 

4. Music and entertainment

It's difficult to put a price on an 'experience', but that intangible enjoyment of an experience is ultimately what guests remember. They will talk for weeks and months about how good the music was, or how weird that particularly performer was. These are the 'instagrammable' parts of the event that partygoers share with their peers to show off how much fun they're having. So when you're hunting for entertainment, ask for videos of the actual product you're going to get - don't just book the cheapest act in a fancy dress costume.

5. Capture the experience

Don't forget to book a photographer! You wouldn't believe the amount of parties we've performed at, where they've spent £10,000 or more, and yet didn't book a photographer. D'oh! Pictures paint a thousand words, and videographers even more. At the very least create a selfie photo area so that guests can have a picture memento of the occasion.

We work with some fabulous party planners, venues, decor suppliers, caterers, bar hire companies, photographers, videographers and of course entertainers, so if you'd like to chat through any event ideas, feel free to drop us a no-obligation email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Photos courtesy of James White Photography

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The best entertainment for carnival themed events


Here's our quick-fire guide to planning the best carnival themed bash, whatever the weather.

Never has summer looked more diverse and colourful than in 2018, when we've been challenged with producing event entertainment for numerous world carnival theme bashes, from Rio parades to masked Venetian, Dia de los Muertos, New Orleans Mardi Gras and London's infamous Notting Hill Parade.

1. Plan for rain or shine
When choosing your venue consider that you may not get the Brazilian sunshine you hope for - a marquee or covered area will be put to good use whether it's sunny or not. And any good decor company will make sure it fits your theme perfectly. We work with some gooduns!

2. Make an impression
Impressive meet and greet entertainment will set the tone of the event, and encourage your guests to get stuck into the theme. This could be steel pan bands a la Trinidad & Tobago Carnival, costumed Day of the Day stilt walkers for Mexican fiestas, or human statues for Venice Carnival.

3. Cater it right
Nobody expects a costly sit-down meal at a carnival themed bash - it's all about the street food. And don't forget to cater for your veggie and vegan clientele. Many events we work now are entirely meat-free.

4. Put on a show
From authentic Samba dancers to Mariachi bands, African drummers, limbo shows and everything in between, your theme is all about colour and energy and fun, so get your guests involved for that authentic carnival experience.

5. Document the memories
We can supply photographers and videographers, but if you're after something a little more unique why not consider a photo booth, a selfie stand, or one of our amazing LED photo frames hosted by our costumed performers - the rainforest tiger goes down particularly well at these bashes.

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Murder on the fort!

Our clients often complain that it's tricky to find a murder mystery experience that isn't 'cheesy' or 'old fashioned' despite how pricey murder mystery packages can be.  And we happen to know that many of the actors supplied for these murder mystery experiences, are volunteers or working for expenses only, and as proud members of Equity performers union we simply don't think that's good enough. Especially if you're paying top dollar for a professional murder mystery product.

So when we were approached to create a murder mystery experience for a group of diners at Spitbank Fort in the Solent, we couldn't wait to get stuck in casting actors, writing a bespoke script that suited the audience and the amazing venue, and of course paying our actors for their rehearsals and performance.  We used a mix of male and female actors - some professional and some amateur dramatics - and the feedback was sensational.

"it went down so well! The story was great and and cast were amazing! Was a great twist on a formal dinner"

Here are a few clips that we caught on a discreetly located Go Pro, as well as some clips from one of the guests' social media uploads. The partygoers were brilliant sports and the Forts were, as ever, sensational hosts.

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