circus – The British Newspaper Archive Blog

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Performing Arts Newspapers

If you are interested in the history of theatre, music, dance, circuses, travelling troupes, opera or any of the performance arts then The British Newspaper Archive is an invaluable source.  Reports of recitals, reviews of plays, and critiques of musical performances can be found in all of our newspapers.  We also hold a selection of specialised titles related to the performing arts. Our newspapers date from the 1700s to the 2000s and within their pages you can trace the history

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Phineas Taylor Barnum – Born on 5 July 1810

P. T. Barnum, the famous American showman, was born in Bethel, Connecticut, on 5 July 1810. Barnum’s travelling fair was promoted as the ‘The Greatest Show On Earth’, and was a sensation during the Victoria era. To give you a taste of how Barnum’s shows were celebrated at the time, here are two newspaper reports from 1884 and 1898 about his circus coming to town, which include illustrations of some of the performers.    

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