News, activities and stories from the Philip Astley Project have received not only local but also national and international coverage. If you’d like to cover one of our events, or an interview with Showman, Performer and Philip Astley Expert, Andrew Van Buren, then do get in touch.

For background on the Philip Astley Project, download our Press Pack

6th Year of The Homecoming!

The Homecoming 2019

Roll up on Saturday 29 June as the modern circus swings back into Newcastle-under-Lyme for the sixth year of outdoor circus gala The Homecoming! 2019.

Presenting some of the freshest in contemporary circus talent in the town centre, come along with your family and friends for jaw-dropping trampolining, moving aerial storytelling, hilarious acrobatic walkabout acts, hands-on workshops and more.

And for a second year, stay with us as the sun goes down for The Homecoming by Night: 3 extraordinary circus acts pop up in bars throughout the town centre. Enjoy some extraordinary talents over a drink or two.

Birthplace of the founder of the modern circus, Philip Astley, join us and celebrate Newcastle’s rich heritage in this fantastic, and fabulously free, family day out.

The Homecoming has been developed and delivered by Newcastle BID (Business Improvement District) in partnership with Appetite and is supported by Newcastle Borough Council. To find out more, follow The Homecoming on Facebook or visit Newcastle BID’s website.

The Line-Up: 

Download -> The Homecoming 2019 Programme

Blazing Saddles by The Bicycle Ballet Co.

11:05am & 2pm

Starting: High St | Catch the finale: Ironmarket

A joyful, roving, outdoor dance performance that unfolds in a series of sequences around the town, Blazing Saddles celebrates a step change moment for women in the 1890s when bicycles became available for the very first time and women seized their new-found freedom.

With clowning, costume, cycling and cake, Blazing Saddles tells the story of a group of women caught up in the thrill of independence.


11am – 5pm  | Red Lion Sq

Sensory Circus by Spinsonic

Spinsonic Circus is proud to present Sensory Circus at Homecoming ‘19!

Reckon you could be a circus star? Join them for an afternoon of inclusive circus skills for all ages and abilities. Have a go at hula hoop, juggling, diablo, plate spinning, starter stilts, poi spinning, balance beam, flower sticks and more. Disability, dementia and ASD friendly, you can have a quiet moment in the Sensory Chill Out tent too with circus play tents, tunnels, blankets, books and sensory toys. Join in the fun and see if you can run away with the circus.

Gibbon by Patfield & Triguero

Co-produced by Gandini Juggling

1pm &  3:50pm | Castle Walk

Devastatingly slick and wonderfully thought provoking, this is contemporary juggling not to miss.

Breakout juggling stars Chris Patfield and José Triguero present Gibbon, a hilarious and surreal show mixing up dance, physical theatre and circus to explore the absurd and comedic connections between people.

As the action cuts between hypnotic patterns and juggling movement sequences, marvel at the duo’s slick technical skill and performance chemistry at The Homecoming.

polaDroid by Silent Rocco

11:30am, 1pm & 4pm

Starting: High St (walkabout act)

Say hello to robotic photographer polaDroid, the mobile photo booth! With his camera face he takes real analog pictures of you, his spectators and spits them out literally, instantly.

“Master of mime Silent Rocco lives and breathes his characters, mesmerizing the audience with a silent art form well beyond antiquated mime clichés.” Preston City Guild Festival, UK



12:15pm & 3:05pm

Starting: High St (walkabout act)

Hailing from the golden age of music hall we are proud to present strongmen Victor, Ian and younger brother Barnaby.

Both on the ground and up in the air these Strong Brothers will perform extraordinary feats of strength, daring and balance.

They are sure to leave you stunned with appreciation. Roll up, roll up for the Greatest Show on Earth!

Roots by Highly Sprung

1:30pm & 4:30pm | High St

A lost soul lives in a tree. In its branches they feel safe. But now someone else wants to live in the tree too. Can they live happily together? Or is there something even scarier lurking amongst the branches?

Highly Sprung presents Roots, a bold and beautiful performance told entirely without words on a six-metre high, rotating tree structure exploring identity, belonging and how we build community. Using aerial movement, bungee ropes and dynamic dance, characters spin, leap and fly in an intriguing, entertaining and visually stunning experience for all the family.

A story with humanity at its heart, Roots invites you to consider how, when we embrace difference we can build a better future for us all.


dip by Max Calaf Seve

12pm & 2:50pm | Ironmarket

dip is an ode to how we find each other…

When Jonah, Oliver and Max cross paths they decide to embark on a quest to learn about each other, what challenges them and what brings them together. Cue light-hearted, breath-taking, air-twisting tricks and funky live tunes with a good dose of humour that gives extraordinary new life to everyday objects and conventional instruments.

Through astonishing trampolining and poetic touch, dip celebrates how humans find each other in a world of isolation through cooperation, acceptance and serendipity.

Co-commissioned by Without Walls, Out There International Festival of Circus and Street Arts, Salisbury International Arts Festival and Hat Fair.

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