I’VE been in some tight spots as a journalist – but this is ridiculous, writes Jamie Bowman.

“The main thing is you have to really want to do it,” explained Yana Banana, The Circus of Horrors’ resident contortionist as she tries to ease me inside a two-foot tall bottle.

“If you don’t mind small places you can teach yourself by trying to get into a cupboard or under the bed in your house. If you can do that you, can be in our show.”

It’s an age old adage that everyone wants to run away and join the circus, but that could really be the case if (unlike me) you can squeeze yourself into the bottle as The Circus of Horrors is looking for a new performer with the requisite skills.

“I’m a sixth-generation circus performer,” said Yana, who is coming to Blackburn’s Empire Theatre in October as part of the circus’ 25th anniversary. “I was born in Russia and my parents were in the Moscow State Circus but I’ve been travelling with Dr Haze for almost 20 years.”

First seen performing at the Glastonbury Festival in 1995, The Circus of Horrors, who are led by the enigmatic Dr Haze, combine horror, comedy and rock and roll, with Victorian freak shows and burlesque, using an evolving cast of acts including sword-swallowers, acrobats and fire-eaters.

“I’m a Lancashire lad,” said Dr Haze, who founded the circus after years of performing in acts himself. “I was brought up in Preston and always love coming back here. It’s the place I call home.

“I’ve got sawdust in my veins and have been a horse trainer and ring master, but during the 70s is when it all changed. You had all these amazing horror films like The Exorcist, Carrie and The Omen and then you had music like T Rex and glam music which were a huge influence on me. Being brought up with all that around changed me and all I wanted to do was combine circus, horror and rock n roll.”

Circus Of Horrors, The 25th Anniversary Tour, Blackburn Empire, Thursday October 24, 7.30pm. Box office: 01254 685 500. The show is not suitable for under 16s.