If you are thinking of university marquee hire, or for any other academic or student event propose, white clear-span frame marquees are lovely of course and they can create incredible, large indoor spaces for fantastic events.
But why not add a unique touch and step out from the crowd! Grab some colour! Boost your event theme and visibility!
Are you planning next years College Summer Ball, Student awards ceremony, Open day, PTA Function, School fete, Theatre production or Freshers fairs?
You may well need one of our tents! Or even some entertainment!
Bigtopmania have been lucky enough to work all around the country for various colleges, schools and universities.
In recent years this has included 3 trips to Scotland for St Andrews’s Big Top Balls with mammoth circus tent installs; various Oxford and Cambridge University summer balls, Bristol University, Birmingham University, Colleges including Bedfordshire, Chichester, Schools including Harrow.
It seems our alternative is proving to be a popular option for university and college event marquee hire…we are currently in talks with University of Northampton for a Feb 2018 event.
Summer 2017 schools, colleges and University marquee hire fun & frolics…a few recent events!
Most recently we supplied 2 brand new colourful circus tents/big tops to Bristol University for their fresher’s event on The Downs. The brightly coloured 12m round with new 8 foot walls for larger feeling space and a brand new 6x12m traditional marquee. The 2 tie in nicely to each other but helped to give the event a colourful focal point in the middle of their site.
Earlier in the season the boys had a good journey up to Cambridge for a short days work where only the roof of a fairly small open-sided tent was required as a bit of sun/rain shelter and also to add to their circus and funfair theme at the Newnham College Garden Party.
At Chichester College we supplied the large red and yellow tent for their student induction week and Principal’s address.
At Newport School in Barnstaple we supplied a large 400 seater theatre tent for various activities, children theatre show and the school’s anniversary. A small dressing room tent was installed behind therein one.
For Bedfordshire, Shuttleworth College student awards ceremony 2016 we supplied a large 500 seater red and white tent which they all used for the student ball after..
At Dumpton School in Dorset, we supplied a lovely tent with patriotic theme and circus trapeze rig for their PTA summer ball.
At Harrow school we supplied for about the 7th time, a marquee for the Grove boarding houses leaver’s meal.
For Leighton Park School in Reading in Feb 17, we supplied a selection of linked tents for their GCSE drama production of WoyZeck. Fabulous photo album here.
Casting the mind further back to last year, the team were working hard in Oxford in the beautiful grounds but pouring rain! We even had a very close call with a lightening strike. For a rather large Oxford university marquee hire install at Wadham College Wonderland ball of 4 Big Tops and various small tents.. What a beautiful event.
Whilst here you will see a 5 pole Red and White Big Top supplied to Bristol University Wills Hall Founders Ball for the welcome drinks reception at their 2016 summer ball. Let’s hope there was lots of drinks and lots of people to be welcomed!
Planning a University Event in 2018?
Please do get in touch as soon as possible, a lot of dates are already taken up for 2018 with weddings and festivals being every present in our schedule, but we will do our best to fit you in and add some circus sparkle to your event!
If you read last weeks episode (blog post) you’ll know that Team Bigtopmania spent a Saturday afternoon busy in Surrey providing circus entertainment to a company christmas fun day. But the show doesn’t end there. Oh no! You’ve merely made it to the interval. It’s SuperVet Christmas Party time; So get your popcorn, sit back and enjoy the rest of this roller coaster ride of circus & event supplier rambling!
Can we supply a marquee for 300+ guests at tables?
Let’s set the scene before we get into the actual event. Our client Fitzpatrick Referrals, made contact with us at just the right time, way back in May 2014.
Honoured to be asked and from what I now know these Supervets and their amazing team do outstanding work.
Plan early! That’s a 6 month Christmas event planning lead in.. just right!
Next Tip!Its really good to be able to see the tent and we like to let clients know if this is possible.
Here’s a picture of the set up on that occasion in May 2015
Farnham Lions Indian Spectacular
and there are even more tents behind. We look forward to working join their next big event in 2017 for 600 table seated guests!! That was a big event and it gave the present clients a good sample. So why not go bigger!
Tent for 300 guests + Large Foyer Bar Tent + Service tent + Stage + Dance floor + loos and lots of entertainment too! In Mid December!
The challenge was on and we produced a few plans and worked with the organiser Stuart (who also runs a therapy centre in Guildford. ) Stuart is a friend of Noel Fitzpatrick and event planned as a favour. I think he likes parties too!
One of the draft plans!
Next Tip; Don’t do it all yourself!
A production collaboration was in order as it was a huge job.
Balloons; dozens of them.. Stuart and his wife.. You have to do something…
The Event Build; Production phase.
It was a very windy site during site visits so we were well prepared with huge amounts of extra ropes, ratchets , and mega stakes. There was no way we were going to have any wind issues!
In the build week leading up to the big day we spent a couple of chilly days fighting the winter weather rigging the rather enormous 6 pole Red & White ‘Squirty Cream‘. This marquee served as the main function space giving 383 square metres of party space.
As soon as this tent was ready we informed Carron marquees that their work could begin!
We had delivered some kit and made some ground preparations in advance so we ended up a day ahead of schedule!
before the foyer and catering tent added
The space was lit with a combination of our fairy light systems, festoon lighting and globe lanterns to light the tent. Later Puxley Sound installed the stage lighting, projectors and battery operated up-lighters.
Before the carpets.
Tents were linked with a 4×4 chinese hat pagoda to a 9x15m candy-striped marquee that acted as the grand entrance tent.
Foyer tent install
Equipped with a well stocked bar and champagne to welcome guests.
well stocked bar
Entrance during event
The set up looked colourful and exciting when we left it, but by the time we returned with all the finishing touches; tables & chairs, decor, dance floor, a carpet and uplighters.
The venue looked quite stunning.
It’ll all be alright on the night.
When so much attention to detail has gone into the planning of a colourful vibrant event, it’s nice when the guests do it justice with an equally fantastic fancy dress effort.
Next Tip; Dress up!
Team Supervet did not disappoint. As well as gorgeous formal wear, there were plenty of leopard skin body suits, groups of strong ‘men’, a pantomime horse with both ends, all manner of clowns and ringmasters. It adds so much fun to the atmosphere from the start, it takes the fear out of atmos-fear!
Next tip; Book some great entertainment.
So after an already long day of performing circus shows down the road. The Bigtopmania team jumped straight into action. We provided mingling circus entertainment to give onlookers something to watch whilst they sipped champagne. Breaking the ice!
Emmanuel was keeping things simple with just a little bit of African bowl spinning and charismatic funny faces which always amuse me even after all these years.
Aerial Els was up high on stilts as a beautiful christmas fairy.
Lucas Jet and Moses did some walkabout juggling to the sounds of the wandering band.
After the guests found their tables,
The London Essentials then kicked things off with an en-mass rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody . . every-one joined in of course.
Then BANG! Generator fail. Smoke and Steam.. just like a car engine failure!
Next tip; at a big event, have at least a back up generator, some onsite electricians and ring for a replacement!
Back stage, people were madly running around trying to sort things out. For a while it was going to be a choice between power for catering or power for marquee.. but in the end Carron marquees brought a new generator. Only setting the schedule back by only 40mins or so. USE A LOCAL GENERATOR CO!
Next tip; Use an opportunity!
This unplanned power fail created a highlight for us and whilst we were having a break before the main show, word got back to the dressing room that the generator had failed (nothing to do with any of our kit thankfully). So the tent was in relative darkness apart from some battery powered LED uplighters round the edge and a small amount of lighting. Elanor had thankfully brought her glow clubs and they went straight in to action.
Making use of the lower lighting and making it look like it was all part of the plan; Glow juggling and acoustic wondering band to the rescue!
The London Essentials band
The guests remained in high spirits and danced and sang and watched our juggling apparently with some of them not realising this wasn’t planned. Below shows a badly-filmed clip of the nice moment the lights came back on.
A great and sexy start to the shows in store.. but not quite as sexy when colleague vets got to have a go!
After the pole dancing it was meal time and during this the London Essentials continued to serenade table by table. A VERY recommended band.
juggling around the tables
I’m afraid i didn’t want to intrude on tables and meal with a camera so no pictures of that and apologies for the I phone unedited images. Lets move on to the
Post-Meal, Pre-Dancing Circus Show Time.
It wouldn’t be a Supervet Christmas Party without some circus!
We had previously installed a 5m high portable, mobile trapeze rig over the dance floor and the action packed show to follow was in front of the stage. We aimed for an action packed show full of skills and comedy of about 25mins long.
The SuperVet Christmas Party Entertainers were;
Lucas Jet who did his jumping over guests on a unicycle routine. He really shouldn’t have picked on our bookers; Noel and Stuart! The Uk African Acrobat Company provided tumbling, human pyramids, contortion and bowl spinning.
Let’s review our Christmas Party Circus Entertainment.
But first; Happy New Year everyone! 2015 was fun!
December; always a busy month for events with celebrations and New Year’s parties galore.
This year Bigtopmania were extremely busy providing circus tents and circus theme event for christmas and seasonal events across London, Surrey, Cornwall and West Sussex.
Wapping Christmas Fair.
We started our December Christmas run back again in city centre London at an event in central Wapping organised by Community Solutions with local volunteer and Church help. Entirely focused on brining the community together, with charity stalls, Father Xmas, and lots more. The sun shone and this second Fair there was a great success. Wapping Christmas Fair, Community Solutions Blog post.
From Wapping, we had a mad week with large tents and shows in Godalming and Camberley in Surrey as well as a fairy lights installation in Launceston in Cornwall and some fire juggling shows at Chanukah events in Finchley and Golders Green London for Tzivos Hashem groups.
Giant Menora Lighting Golders Green
The huge crowd at this outdoor celebration. Fire Juggling stage show and more by PeteZa.
Peteza also performed once again for a playgroup party in Chilworth, Guildford; back for about the 15th time to the 3 and 4 year olds with lots of clowning nonsense!
Fairy Lights for Launceston Young Farmers Snow Ball at Launceston Town Hall.
During the mid week we installed tents for the weekend parties to come, but also managed to install a very pretty fairy light installation for the young farmers ball. ( They stayed in place for the mayors community dinner too). It was an interesting challenge doing this and used adapted parts, lots of ladder work and hundreds of meters of lights. Looked lovely!
Company Christmas Family Party
We were working as part of a larger project co-ordinated by Michael Charles from Julia Charles Events Management. Various suppliers came together to provide fairground rides, an ice rink and santa’s grotto with Bigtopmania providing the Christmas circus party entertainment in our beautiful little Big Top.
The team came together to supply a bespoke big top experience to wow the S C Johnson Ltd employees and families of the company.
The show featured;
Chief Peteza in ringmaster & clown mode with knife throwing frolics.
Moses Opiyo was hitting new heights with his hardstands, and braving the cold in just his gold leggings.
Lucas Jet; Sky High Unicycling and juggler. Also debuting a club passing routine with Moses.
Elanor Smith ; Aerialist from Pass Go Juggling; Rounding things on aerial silks to bring the house down.
We performed two shows and in-between shows we presented circus skills and giant bubbles to keep the kids amused entertaining around 500 people across the two audiences.
This day was a good example of how we can fit into a larger scale event but provide a low maintenance one stop solution. You don’t need to worry.. we will get on and do it! We provide lighting, p.a, the show, tiered seating, carpet, space heater.
Fitzpatrick Referrals (or Supervet); the mega Staff Christmas Party Circus .
You will have to wait!
There will be a separate post about our Fitzpatrick Referrals ( the ‘Supervet’) staff christmas party circus because so much of our resources went into it that it warrants a full article itself.
So as if you needed an incentive to check back next week, well, you now have one.
Cmed Staff Christmas Party Circus.
Cmed’s West Sussex office party was a relaxed lunchtime gathering in one of our tents at their location near Horsham.
The brief organised in conjunction with one of their head members of staff ( thank you for trusting us Georgina!) was a few hours of circus, food, informal, team building, party!
With 80 staff, we installed a small tent so there was no room to hide!
Guests/ Staff were greeted by bubbles and artists and each had a red nose and some costume accessories to wear on top of the Christmas jumpers.
Lunch from Monster Foods was very popular and the candy floss was splendid!
Show was by;
Moses Opiyo; hand-balancing and hat juggling.
Lucas Jet; Unicycling and juggling,
Elanor Smith on Aerial Hoop with our new mini portable trapeze rig.
“Pete! Can’t thank you enough for the totally outstanding, fabulous day you gave the kids and to the adults… Absolutely amazing! Many many thanks to you and your super performers!!!! You made Zidaan’s party such a super-duper hit!!!
Thank you! Bhavna”
In the middle of January 2015, the circus came to Dulwich in South East London.
Well to be fair; a small circus in a small tent but a really BIG party for a really BIG Birthday!
Zidaan’s 5th birthday circus party;
Bigtopmania were booked to put on an extra special show for 5th birthday boy Zidaan.
We installed a single-pole 11 m “Baby Big Top”circus tent with all the trappings.
This size tent gives enough WOW factor to have the feeling of a circus and gives the right amount of atmosphere for a children’s party and, being a Winter Circus Party; small is easier to heat. It was snug and toastie!
The Baby Big Top
was decorated with fairy lights, velvet curtains, circus signage, bunting, tiered seating and more. We even made a special Circus Zidaan sign which was painted up beautifully and lit throughout the party. It really was Zidaan’s very own circus!
He, his friends and family should remember it for a long time!
Other lovely party add-ons in the tent included fresh popcorn trolley, a face painter, circus nibbles, a rather stunning birthday cake and lots of red noses and clown wigs!
All the performers did some meet and greet whilst the guests arrived.
This was the time to add some giant bubbles and some Big Bear Hugs!
Then it was;
Circus Party Show Time
Roll up, Roll up. Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls; It’s Circus Show Time!
Our show featured a good roster of artists with PeteZa & BigFoot The Clown providing plenty of the ringmaster & clowning buffoonery between them.
Lucas Jet brought some ball juggling funk to the show as well as cigar boxes and unicycling finale.
Princess Leonie was on hand for the glamour with her circus hula hoop routine and a trapeze act. Beautiful!
It’s a real family circus show.. PeteZa is father of Lucas and Leonie!
We were joined by Magician Roberto who delivered some great illusions and a fantastic birthday moment allowing Zidaan to be
The birthday boy who flew on a flying carpet!
We had China Plate Spinning, Trick Cycling and even a Custard Pie but an unexpected highlight was a little 4-year-old stealing the show leading a hilarious Gangham style dance.
You can’t plan for those moments but they are what makes each and every show unique and special.
The Human Cannon Ball provided a loud and messy Finale!
Right after the show we went straight in to a mini disco getting the children on to their feet and into dancing mood.
Big Bear joined in the antics and lead the children through various dance routines allowing them to work up an appetite before the Circus Party tea.
We provided an hour and half’s entertainment to a packed tent. We could have carried on but for the schedule and splendid circus tea time up next.
We had thrills, spills and a barrel of laughs!
But before party tea; the all-important;
Circus Birthday cake and happy birthday song time!
The Circus Party Tea
After the show, it’s back to the real work and we had a lot to clear up! Kids and Popcorn!
Everyone headed into the hall that had been transformed by a Toadstool Party’s decor team into yet another circus party!
The fun carries on!
Fabrics hung on the walls and ceilings, balloons, party favours and even a photo board with props awaited the children. (And lots of adults!).
It looked amazing and totally unlike the room it used to be. (A plain white sports club bar!) Close up magic was provided by our magician and dress-up photos were taken.
Party nibbles and drinks were themed to circus too.
Thank you for coming to my party!
Circus Party Goody Bags were in the form of Harrods Circus sweet tins. Lovely!
A huge thank you from us to;
Master Zidaan and his family, especially his mother; a party planning Mum With A Vision!
Email, phone calls and a site visit.. we got there.. even via India!
For the trust you put in us to provide a great party.. thank you .. till next time!
Thanks also to the lovely memories created by Amanda Curd, today’s circus party photographer, who took such great photos and has allowed us to share some of them.
The grounds of Wellington Country Park, just south of Reading in Hampshire, are a prime location for caravans, campers, fisherman and especially families and day visitors from all over.
Billed as the “Baby Big Top Circus”, we feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to perform our “Bigtopmania Family Circus Show” over the Easter weekend for the last 6 years.
The Circus tent stays at the Park over the Easter Holidays and is used for the rest of the entertainment…. as on the board above! (throughout the year there is a full program of activities and entertainment; our tents return and our acts entertain!)
The morning view at Wellington Country Park, Berkshire
We stay on site and wake up to a cacophony from the ducks, swans, geese and a host of other animals…
Luxury Circus Campsite!
The crowds have grown each year that we have been here and this year was no different; with the afternoons shows crowd being especially large.
Sardines comes to mind!
Considering the freezing cold Easter this year, it was a delight to see so many bottoms on seats with full houses every show!
You can watch the 2013 Circus video here
The Circus Cast
Ringmaster & Clown – PeteZa
At the head of it all is PeteZa, the ringmaster who is always clowning around. This year he donned a cowboy hat for a western themed lasso act and a china plate spinning act that was simply erm’ …smashing!
china plate spinning
African Acrobats – Emmanuel & Enoch
Brothers from Accra, Ghana and great friends of ours for many years; these boys have energy to match their smiles and crazy whistles!
They make you cheer with their wonderful flips, and they make you laugh when they wiggle their hips!
This year Emmanuel flew back from Ghana on the Saturday and was performing with us for the Sunday shows. No rest for the wicked!
Emmanuel shows us how to do it even with no head?!
Hula & Aerial Silks – Leonie
Leo’s first outing is a Hula Hoop routine performed to an upbeat country western tune with costume to match.
For the finale Leo performs aerial silks to more atmospheric sounds, the strong and graceful side of Leo comes out in this routine.
Wowing the crowds with flexibility, strength and daring drops; this routine closes the show.
Unicyclist and Juggler – Lucas
Opening the show, a Balkan themed clap-along juggling routine with up to 7 balls manipulated on the cold mornings was no mean feat!
Later; a block by block Tetris themed Cigar box routine was also on the menu as well as a comedy unicycle routine.
The pinnacle of the unicycle act is a jump from a high pyramid to crush a cup placed between sound technician Craig’s legs.
The Easter Bunny
It wouldn’t be an Easter show without a visit from a certain someone.
The Easter Bunny spread the love with choc’s and sweets for as many kids as possible.
With the Easter weekend being an already busy period for him, we’re very grateful he was able to attend.
When the show is over.. In our spare time…
On the Saturday night we paid a visit to Carter’s Vintage Steam Fair, back on the old ground of Palmer Park In Reading. All the rides were looking as beautiful as ever at this long-standing traditional fairground.
We even bumped into a few old faces from our Reading years.
At the park we enjoyed lovely walks taking the dog around the lake or into the deer park (found some large antlers!!), mini golf and dinosaur spotting!
Do you have an event that needs some family entertainment, why not hire a circus show from Bigtopmania.
We cater the show to meet your budget & vision. We have a roster of artists that we work with regularly and can put together a very large or a very small show depending on the event.
We love hiring our circus tents to lots of lovely events but we much prefer it when we get to perform our shows in them as well. Circus is our passion after all!
Circus Appreciation Society!
Thank you’s go to all those who attended and made it such an enjoyable experience and for the lovely staff of Wellington Country Park for looking after us. Finally thanks to Nino Bartolomei who supplied the majority of these photographs.