Andrew Van Buren commemorates Philip Astley and the 250th Anniversary of the circus in Westminster

The legacy of Philip Astley and the 250th anniversary of the circus are commemorated by Andrew Van Buren at the Palace of Westminster.

On March 6th, Showman and Performer Andrew Van Buren gave his speech in the House of Commons after being invited to a parliamentary assembly.

Organised by the ‘Association of Circus Proprietors‘ Andrew addressed his own life in showbusiness – as a magician, illusionist, juggler and plate spinner, plus his personal journey to gain circus creator- Philip Astley recognition.

Andrew spoke about the fascinating life of Philip Astley, along with his close ties with his birthplace Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Astley moved to London where he created the circus, later moved on to Europe, and died in Paris after creating and exporting the modern day circus.

It is a form of entertainment that breaks all barriers

“It is a form of entertainment that breaks all language barriers – it doesn’t matter what gender, race, religion – or belief, male or female – it entertains all and is performed by all – All are equal – Working together side by side in harmony.

The Circus has evolved through a great many stages and now in its 21st century forms – resembles Astley’s creation more so than ever before. All created by an English War Hero – Born in Newcastle-under-Lyme, developed in London, made in Great Britain and exported to the world”.

– Andrew Van Buren spoke about the importance of Philip Astley’s legacy

The event in the Palace of Westminster, London welcomed key people in the circus industry, including the General Director of Capital Circus, President of the Association of Circus Proprietors of Great Britain, and members of European Parliament. Other speakers included Chairman of the Association of Circus Proprietors, Martin Burton. Member of European Parliament Hungarian Ministerial Commissioner, Peter Fekete; chair of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and Heritage Lottery Fund, Sir Peter Luff. Hungarian politician and circus enthusiast István Ujhelyi, paid tribute to Andrew Van Buren’s dedication to the circus arts and Philip Astley and announced exciting European plans for collaborations into the future.

All spoke about and agreed on the international importance for the future of circus, arts and culture as well as recognising the historic value.

Péter Fekete, Ministerial Commissioner and General Director of Capital Circus gave a speech about the transformation and importance of circus art and its social message.

Days before, he gave a speech in the Upper Parliament Hall of the Hungarian Parliament Building, where many leaders of Hungarian national institute held a presentation.

At this event, Philip Astley received a series of special mentions.

Respect to the ancestors, [and] respect to the English circus traditions, where Philip Astley launched modern circus art 250 years ago

– Péter Fekete in his speech at Westminster


  • For more information about Philip Astley’s life and legacy, visit The Philip Astley Project about page.

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