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Circus that’s a real family affair coming to Diss

PUBLISHED: 10:41 12 September 2018 | UPDATED: 10:43 13 September 2018

A family affair: Laken and Tyanna will be performing as part of the 10th anniversary shows in Diss. Picture: Nick Butcher

A family affair: Laken and Tyanna will be performing as part of the 10th anniversary shows in Diss. Picture: Nick Butcher

When Circus Tyanna pitches its Big Top in Diss next month it will mark the end of a special year and a return to a town with which they enjoy strong links.

Knife thrower Todd Christian with his wife Claire Fidelia and children Laken and Tyanna. Picture: Nick ButcherKnife thrower Todd Christian with his wife Claire Fidelia and children Laken and Tyanna. Picture: Nick Butcher

The family circus, which will be on Diss Fair Green from October 7-21, has this year been undertaking their 10th anniversary tour as well as celebrating 250 years of British circus.

It has been a special year for all circus performers as they mark the date on April 4, 1768 when cavalry man, Phillip Astley, opened his first ever show near London Bridge displaying his trick horse riding skills and demonstrations of horsemanship.

The horse performances were broken up with street performers such as fire eaters, sword swallowers, tumblers and jesters, thus creating the first ever circus.

Knife thrower Todd Christian with his wife Claire Fidelia will be bringing Circus Tyanna to Diss. Picture: Nick ButcherKnife thrower Todd Christian with his wife Claire Fidelia will be bringing Circus Tyanna to Diss. Picture: Nick Butcher

Circus Tyanna doesn’t feature horse skills but some traditional circus skills will be one show in Diss as two generations of one family performing together.

Circus proprietor and ringmaster Todd Christian will perform alongside his wife Claire as wells as son Laken, eight, who will both perform clown routines. His 11-year-old contortionist daughter Tyanna - once the country’s youngest high-wire performer when she was just three - will also make an appearance.

Mr Christian, who was born into a circus family, established Circus Tyanna in 2008. He bought a Big Top and other circus paraphernalia from the former Circus Ricardo as a first birthday present for his daughter and put on the first Circus Tyanna tour the following year.

Laken, 8, and Tyanna, 11, will also be performing with Circus Tyanna to Diss. Picture: Nick ButcherLaken, 8, and Tyanna, 11, will also be performing with Circus Tyanna to Diss. Picture: Nick Butcher

He said: “It’s been our 10th anniversary this year so it has been a special year. We are a real traditional circus that is run and performed by the family.

“We have come to Diss every year for the whole 10 years and we have connections to the town with family living just outside, so it is special to return.”

Performing runs in the family’s blood as Todd’s late father, Chris Christian, was a prominent circus performer and will be familiar to many for playing the ringmaster in the 1960 horror film Circus of Horrors.

Circus Tyanna is coming back to Diss for its final shows of their 10th anniversary year. Picture: Nick ButcherCircus Tyanna is coming back to Diss for its final shows of their 10th anniversary year. Picture: Nick Butcher

The couple decided to set up their own touring company and named it in honour of Tyanna. From the beginning, she was asked how she would like to be involved in the performances and has ever since been practising and adding to her skills.

Mr Christian said: “These will be our last performances of what has been a special year before take our winter break. We are looking forward to being back. We are a traditional circus - there are not many of us left.”

• Circus Tyanna will be at Diss Fair Green from October 7-21. Performance days and times are yet to be confirmed.

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