North East circus group take over museum and wow Olympic medallist

The Family La Bonche troupe

The North East Circus Development Trusts’ Five Ring Circus aka Family La Bonche took over the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge and wowed the Olympic star by performing circus tricks in the museum’s galleries and a trapeze routine in the grounds. They attended the event to share their experiences of being involved in a Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Young Roots’ project called ‘Who are we?’ which explored the circus history of the region.

The event also saw the screening of a brand new series of films encouraging others to get involved in #YoungRoots and apply for grants of up to £50,000 to explore their heritage.

Robbie Grabarz, 2012 Olympic Bronze Medallist and Gold Medallist at the 2012 European Championships in Helsinki, said: “I’m delighted to be able to share my story. Sport is my passion and I went after my dream, helped by lottery funding. I hope that I can inspire some of the young people to go after theirs. Heritage is all around us, and I’m really excited to hear more about the stories that they will uncover.”

Follow us on twitter @heritagelottery #youngroots and @HLFNorthEast

Notes to editors

Project: The Family La Bonche – who are we?
Applicant: North East Circus Development Trust (NECDT)
Grant award: £37,600
Attendees:  Helen Averley + young people from Five Ring Circus
Contact: Helen Averley
NECDT’s youth circus, Five Ring Circus aka Family La Bonche, (ages 11-25), in Partnership with Tyne & Wear Archives and Discovery Museum explored the North East regions circus history and their adopted circus identity. Project activities (1 year) included researching the Arthur Fenwick Circus Collection in Tyne & Wear Museum & Archives, contributing to the regional archive, collecting oral histories from older circus members, creating a performance piece (performed in Newcastle & Barnsley), an exhibition, a 120 page book of NE Circus History, and visiting the National Fairground Archives and one of the last two remaining purpose built circus venues in the UK.

Further information

Tom Williams, HLF Press Office, on 020 7591 6056, email:


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