Wong Tai Sin Circus Brazil

Sat, 02/04/2023 - 17:33

This image of a circus tent at Wong Tai Sin appears to be a fairly rare one by showing an actual ‘Big Top’ performance tent. This despite traveling circuses visiting Hong Kong over many years before and after the Pacific war.

Apart from ‘Circus Brazil’, there was Circus Busch, Franz Isaldo’s Circus & Menagerie,  Harmstons Circus, Sheums Circus, Kamala Circus, Tait’s Manila Carnival, The Russian Circus & Menagerie, all advertising their presence in Hong Kong’s newspapers. Some contemporary reports on the shows,  performers, and accidents, incidents etc. appear in contemporary newspapers.

Many circuses appear to have been very large operations to move to and from Hong Kong, set up on a suitable vacant site, presumably pre-arranged, promote their acts for whatever period they chose, and then break it all down and move on elsewhere.  Advertised entrance charges seem be as low, with gate admissions at only 20 cents to a box seat at $2.20. However, the promoters must have found it profitable to keep coming back. Performance sites varied from Wong Tai Sin and the Kai Tak  roundabout bus terminal (not the actual airport), Causeway Bay, Hennessy Road, Mongkok, to opposite the Peninsula Hotel over the years.

The Russian Circus & Menagerie advertised 150 ‘wild’ animals, 35 horses, 8 elephants, 60 European artists/performers.

Where were the performers, animal trainers etc. accommodated, how were the tents, menagerie, animal’s welfare and living infrastructures shipped in and out? They must have had dedicated cargo vessels just carrying their equipment and staff on each visit. As traveling circuses, they presumably continually moved around the Far East and perhaps beyond.

It’s surprising that few photographs of these events appear to have surfaced.

An interesting research project for any student of Hong Kong’s entertainment industry.


Date picture taken