History

It all started on 24 March 2005 in a hired tent that could seat 150 people at the Blue Route Mall in Tokai, Cape Town. At the young age of only 21 David McLaren followed his passion and childhood dream and started the McLaren Circus.

McLaren Circus was built upon the nostalgic memories of a childhood dream to someday reintroduce the magic culture and variety of a traditional big-top travelling circus through shows that are staged in the same wholesome family spirit that enchanted audiences for centuries.

A delightful band of artists trained by a circus school in Cape Town assisted David with the first shows in 2005. David was the ringmaster and his older brother Duncan performed clowning sketches. The circus was funded entirely by David McLaren. During this first year, shows were held during school holidays.

At the end of 2005, nine months after the launch it was decided that the show would be rolled out to the country side. In 2006 David invested in a larger 22m x 28m red and yellow marquee, manufactured in Cape Town. David set off down the Garden Route with two caravans, a trailer, a bakkie, his animals and artists.

The now famous red and yellow marquee could be seen trekking all over the country, mainly to small towns and villages with one day stands. The last show before returning to Cape Town for the holiday season was in Paarl at the end of 2006.

After careful consideration it was decided that the McLaren Circus would tour the Western and Eastern Cape Provinces. An 8-ton truck, two camels, four ponies, and two lion cubs were acquired for the tour. It was an investment well worth as this tour proved to be a great success.

Once back in Cape Town, 2009 was an historical year for the McLaren Circus. It had now become necessary  to invest in a bigger tent, and the beloved red and yellow marquee made way for a bigger white and red four-pole Big Top. The circus acquired more trucks and started touring the whole of Southern Africa.

As 2010 rolled in, the circus continued to tour South Africa, playing all towns it came across, no town was ever too big or two small. The circus grew bigger and bigger and even more truck, a ticket office and more animals was acquired. David was indeed living his childhood dream.

But with all the magic, love and laughter came tears in 2011. In the early hours of a Sunday morning in Witbank a freak storm hit the circus and caused a blow down. David stood helpless at his caravan as the freak storm blew down his circus tent causing mayor damage to the tent, king poles, equipment and seating inside the tent. The storm was over within a few minutes but left the circus in devastation. As the news spread through the circus world, David received calls from other circuses offering help and assistance. The McLaren circus staff was amazing and all got up in the early hours of that morning to assist David.

But the show had to go on and the tent, seating, equipment and king poles were all repaired within 3 days. The show was back up and it was business as always for the McLaren Circus.

2012 became another historical year for the McLaren Circus. A new 4-Pole Big Top was purchased, a state of the art 12m Canteen joined the colourful fleet. The new 4-pole Big Top can also be transformed into a 6-Pole tent playing bigger venues and cities.

David McLaren is now 29 and is still driven by his passion and love for circus.

The circus, now a household name, still tours southern Africa like in the beginning, on their own steam without any sponsorship or funding. Its you, the public and South African circus fans that keep the McLaren Circus going and help us provide smiles to thousands of children of all ages every day by bringing entertainment to their doorsteps.

The McLaren Circus management and staff would like to thank you all for buying circus tickets over the years and thus supporting the McLaren Circus to become South Africa's favourite circus.

Latest Progress
From humble beginnings in 2005 McLaren Circus has become the biggest travelling circus in southern Africa on 4 August 2013 based on its size, variety of acts and biggest selection of animals. McLaren Circus is bringing it's magic and a range of acts from every corner of the world to every corner of the country.

Current Programme
McLaren Circus is presenting it’s biggest and strongest programme to date.

From Australia Miss Nikita on her heart stopping single trapeze, direct from the Chinese state circus Miss To Yong with spectacular unicycle balancing, Amazing acrobatics from Kenya and Zimbabwe by the Velocity Boys, From Cape Town on her rope act the lovely Miss Karen, Impressive 5 man Chinese Poi act by China’s Troupe Fie Ling, The amazing juggling skills of Australia’s Jansen Grant, Double silk act, Human Juggling by Chee and Chong, The death defying wheel of death, Fire and Fire Limbo acts. Resident clowns Little Alick and Mariska impress with amazing clowning skills. This is just some of the jaw-dropping acts on the 2013 programme.

Not forgetting our amazing performing animals such as a mixed caged act with America’s Casey McCoy consisting of Rare White Lions, African Lionesses, Bengal Tigers and Rare White Bengal Tiger. Other animal acts include our Perky Poodles, Burmese Pythons, Arabian Camels, Miniature Donkey and Goat, Miniature Horses and Ponies.

All presented to you in a beautiful 32 x 32m state of the art Big Top Circus Tent.

Charities and Educational Tours
McLaren Circus invites all registered charities to attend our circus shows. This can be arranged via e-mail at bookings@mclarencircus.co.za.

We also invite schools and crèches to attend our Educational Animal tours. This is a great way for children to see our animals up close and they will also receive some valuable information regarding all species at McLaren Circus. This can be booked via e-mail at info@mclarencircus.co.za.

Parties and Group Bookings
McLaren Circus offers children’s parties that are hosted in our circus tent which include our circus show. We also offer traditional circus party packs that can be purchased from us.

We also offer group bookings for schools and companies.

The above mentioned can all be booked via e-mail at bookings@mclarencircus.co.za

Circus Animals
McLaren Circus is the home to the following species of animals:

Bengal Tigers, Rare White Bengal Tiger, Rare White Lions, African Lionesses, Arabian Camels, Miniature Pony and Horses, Goats, Miniature Donkey, Burmese Pythons and Perky Poodles.

For more regarding our Animal Care Programme, please contact our Public Relations Officer.

General Information
Official Website: www.mclarencircus.co.za
General E-Mail: info@mclarencircus.co.za
Ticket Office: 082 747 5726
Public Relations: 079 519 2444

 

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