Instead of using their usual array of circus skills, they have been making personal protective equipment.
Jay Millers Circus is back for 2021, with performances at The Common, Lindfield, RH16 2LG from Wednesday, June 30 to Sunday, July 11 (weekdays 5pm and 7.30pm; Saturdays 130pm, 4pm and 6.30pm, Sundays 11.30am and 2pm, no shows Monday and Tuesday).
It then moves to Selsey from Wednesday, July 14 to Sunday, July 18. Tickets on http://www.jaymillerscircus.co.uk
It’s a moment of hope for spokesman Jon Miller.
“Having been part of the arts sector, unfortunately closed at short notice due to the Covid pandemic in March 2020, our plans were put on hold with the announcement of the national lockdown.
“Our foreign artists had all their visas, health checks, flights and/or ferry tickets paid for and two days before they could travel Cubans weren’t allowed to transit via Spain and the channel ferries weren’t moving passengers only freight so our European/Russian artists were stranded.
“We thought that this would only last a few weeks so we started to rearrange our itinerary and then the enormity of the pandemic hit.
“With the desperate appeal for scrubs and face masks, the Jay Miller family and those who were already at the winter quarters, rose to the challenge.
“Being a versatile business that has faced many challenges over the years, the team quickly put out an appeal via social media for material, elastic and buttons. Within 24 hours, the required PPE was being produced for whoever requested them.
“I believe, in total, the team turned out some 450 face masks and over 120 gowns.
“As the first wave abated, the dilemma then was can we open as foreign travel was still restrictive.
“But as luck as had it we received a telephone call from Bunn Leisure in Selsey asking if we could provide a show under our big top as circus was classed as out-door entertainment.
“This was great news as the Miller family were able to open for the summer. So popular was the event that we stayed for two weeks into September but with the fear of another wave, it was decided to close our tour, short but sweet.
“To date we have been closed until the Government allowed us to reopen on May 17 this year – trying times for many but in the face of adversity, circus is adaptable and has overcome and is returning to Selsey from July 14 to 18.”