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Show People of North Staffordshire

Show People of North Staffordshire

Appetite has supported the Philip Astley Project to deliver Show People and we’re excited to host the exhibition within our Newcastle Common High Street space.

‘Show People of North Staffordshire’ is a project that has recorded stories of fairground and circus families and workers in the area over the past few months. Members of the community were asked for their memories too and a photographer captured portraits of the families and workers, alongside current circus and fairgrounds in the area.

The Show People exhibition shares some of the stories and photographs that have been captured as part of the project. It includes a number of oral history interviews that can be listened to, a map showing current and past circus and fairground sites, related photographs and objects.


Show People is open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from Friday 30 June to Saturday 26 August from 11am to 3pm and is free to attend.

The exhibition is on one level with a slight step into the space. A ramp is available for wheelchair users.

Please note we do not have any toilets within our space. The closest public toilets are at Newcastle Library which includes a Changing Places accessible toilet.

The closest car park is on Ryecroft.

Click here to listen to an audio introduction to the exhibition as well as some fairground facts:

Film Programme

A free film programme is taking place in the exhibition space once a week. All talks are 45mins with time for questions and chat at the end. The films are kindly provided by Staffordshire Film Archive.


Friday 30 June 2pm


Philip Astley – the original Greatest Showman – how invented and ran his famous Circus and Amphitheatre


Thursday 6 July 11am


Vintage Circus – some classic moments in Circus history caught on film over the past Century
Friday 14 July 2pm


Fairgrounds on Film – all the fun of the fair and behind the scenes of fairgrounds over the past Century.


Thursday 20 July 11am


North Staffordshire on Holiday – holiday films from local people over the years featuring North Wales and Blackpool.


Friday 28 July 2pm


Jacob Decastro – the Clown in Astley’s company – his own story from his book about working with Philip Astley.


Thursday 3 August 11am


Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show – original films from over 100 years ago when he toured the UK from his base here in North Staffordshire.


Friday 11 August 2pm


The Heyday of the Big Circuses – colourful films of “The Greatest Show on Earth” from a range of famous circus families.


Thursday 17 August 11am


Andrew Ducrow – equestrian star. The most famous performer to come from Astley’s original company.


Friday 25 August 2pm


The Van Buren Story – the UK’s largest illusion act. This film history of the Van Burens’ career is hosted by Andrew Van Buren himself


‘Show People of North Staffordshire’ is funded by Historic England’s Everyday Heritage Grants: Celebrating Working Class History


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