A group of circus performers who were forced to use foodbanks to survive Covid are returning to Lancashire with a brand new show.

Circus Mondao is heading to the Fylde coast for a month between August 3 and September 5, with performances for all the family, but after a terrible start to their season in 2020, they need the public's help more than ever.

Petra Jackson, Ringmistress at Circus Mondao said: "After starting our season in February last year we performed for approximately four weeks before the country went into lockdown.

"We all returned to our farm just outside of Boston and thought it would be a few weeks, never believing it would be nearly five months before we could start performing again.

"We returned to performing in August but after only 13 weeks the country went into another national lockdown, which saw us all once again having to return to our farm with no jobs or money to survive."

With the circus closed from the start of November to the end of May, the artists and performers have only taken to the stage for 13 weeks out of the last 14 months, with Petra explaining they received no help from the government.

She added: "Yes we are a registered business but we do not have a business premises due to the nature of our business, so we were not eligible for any of the government grants.

"Our performers are all international who come here to work on visas, these cost around £1,000 per person with all the health checks and health charges and flights etc.

"Part of their visa regulations meant they had no access to public funding and couldn't take a job outside of the entertainment industry, so as you can imagine, lockdown has put all these circus artistes in a very sticky situation."

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With the borders closed, meaning many of the performers could not return to their home countries, they found themselves relying on food banks to survive.

Petra continued: "From the kindness of local food banks that have kept everyone fed for many months we are forever grateful.

"It is not until you have to ask for this help that you realise how amazing these people are who organise food banks and those who donate to them.

"To say thank you to the food banks we want to give back, so we are setting up a food bank collection point at the circus and are asking every customer to bring along a non-perishable item of food like pasta, rice, tinned items, UHT milk, cereal, crisps, biscuits, toiletries , toilet rolls, etc etc.

"We are supporting our local food bank, who will collect the items from us to redistribute.

"There has been a government scheme to give grants to the entertainment industries, we have applied to the government for the grants but were refused each time, being told we are not culturally significant.

"Our type of circus started over 250 years ago here in the UK, we keep to traditions and give good quality family entertainment.

"Some circuses in the UK have received grants of over £500,000, where others, like ourselves have received zero.

"We have really struggled and need the great British public to turn out and support live entertainment.

"We are a traditional family circus with a host of high flying acrobats, amazing artistes, crazy clown Ruanito who has come all the way from Brazil, lovely animals, beautiful showgirls, aerial artistry, jugglers, a wheel of death, hand balancing and much more."

Circus Mondao will return to the Norcross Lane carboot field in Thornton-Cleveleys between August 3 and September 5.

The booking office is open 9am to 5pm.

For more information please visit: facebook.com/Circus-Mondao-230783676318

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