Nov 142014

With thanks to Christina Elliott.

Photo Credit the bridge 2 - Creative Commons

Lions and tigers from Chipperfield’s circus are being over wintered in the Northeast of Scotland. Photo Credit: The Bridge – Creative Commons

Local people concerned for the welfare of lions and tigers from Chipperfield’s circus being over wintered at the circus high school are holding a demonstration to protest the use of all wild animals in circuses.

The protestors wish to send a message to Holyrood and to circuses that confining and exploiting wild animals for entertainment is not acceptable to the British public in the 21st century and that any further delay in prohibiting such acts is unacceptable.

The demonstration against the use of all wild animals in circuses is due to take place on Sunday Nov 16, 11.30am – 3pm at the Circus High School, Cairnglass Croft, Inverallochy, Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire. AB43 8UT.

28 countries around the world now have national restrictions in place and yet Scotland and the rest of the UK are still debating the issue.

Earlier this year the Scottish Government undertook a public consultation on the issue but a response to its outcome has been delayed until the new year.

ADI (Animal Defenders International) President Jan Creamer commented:

“ADI applauds efforts by Kevin Stewart MSP to ban circuses from using wild animals in Scotland. Without action from government, the arrival of big cats in Aberdeenshire could be the first of many, making Scotland a destination for circus suffering that it has not been for years. We can’t let that happen.”

Further information on animals in circuses can be found here:

A video, filmed at the Circus High School by Victor Beattie, showing characteristic ‘pacing’ behaviour associated with animals living in cramped, stressful or unnatural conditions can be viewed here:

Demonstration against the use of all wild animals in circuses.

Sunday 16th. November 2014, 11.30am – 3pm

Circus High School,
Cairnglass Croft,
AB43 8UT.


Kevin Stewart MSP
Tel: 0131 348 6382


Contact for protestors:

Christina Elliott 07415663890

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Feb 212014

By Julie Thompson.

_87A7827 From the moment the plague-riddled cast crawled through the audience, prompting the odd scream, and onto the stage the action was non-stop and what a spectacle – with sword swallowing, trapeze artists, contortionists, balancing acts, blood & gore, flames and pyrotechnics, a camp vampire and a band providing a rocking soundtrack that never seemed to put a foot wrong.

The Circus of Horrors began back in 1995, and this tours incarnation of Circus is dubbed London After Midnight – getting the name from a long lost film originally shot in the 20’s – and is loosely based around the plague years of 1665.

Led by Doctor Haze, the show hurtled along at fast clip – at times there was so much going on it was hard to decide where to look.

Hannibal Helmurto, who once ruptured his oesophagus during his act, swallowed some serious sharp swords (ask the cucumbers) and swung a heavy lump of wood by his nose.

Captain Dan, the demon dwarf, hung a weighty cannon ball from an appendage that would make most men’s eyes water and ate a light bulb. Anyone who has a Henry vacuum cleaner may never look at it the same way again after seeing what Dan does with his.


Captain Dan’s segments are definitely not for the prudish – when I tell you he is touted as having the strongest cock in the world, you’ll maybe get the gist.

A contortionist writhed around on a bed, exorcist like, then crawled like a crab across the floor until stunned by a crucifix and replaced on the bed – which swallowed him whole.

There was a lady in a glass jar, another was sliced in half and yet another had her throat cut (the knife slice in the neck was most realistic, I might add – I gave it a close look).

There was comedic relief in the form of a double act between a camp Dracula and Dan and between the grotesque there were some stunning acrobatic displays – with trapeze, tumbling and balancing acts.

The trapeze twins were simply stunning – totally deadpan, almost inhuman and reminding me of grown up versions of the twins from The Shining – they took to the air in a stunning combination of strength and grace.

If you sit in the front few rows expect to get wet in some way – either from water or maybe fake blood. Further back you’ll maybe just get glittered by the Air Dancer, Anastasia, as she flies overhead, suspended solely by her hair.

_87A8297There were a couple of things I had to turn away from; one was Dan opening a beer bottle with his eye socket and the other was Hannibal inserting a 9 inch dagger into his nasal cavity – that reminded me too much of a visit I once made to the Ear Nose and Throat clinic at ARI where an object of similar length was inserted into my head via a nostril.

Nope! Not something I want to see again.

All in all, it was a very entertaining evening – just don’t go along expecting anything highbrow. It’s raw, lowering the tone type stuff – just my kind of thing.

When the show returns to Aberdeen, I hope I am lucky enough to get to shoot it again, this was the most fun I’ve had in some time.


Video trailer:

More Photos:

The Circus of Horrors:

YouTube Videos:

Sword Swallower in action:
Dan & Capt Haze superglued hoover story:

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Nov 252013

Modo, a social enterprise that uses high quality engagement in circus and street theare to allow young people to change for the better, has been shortlisted for a People’s Millions Award and we need your vote!


Modo has been shortlisted for a People’s Millions Award

Best known for the big parades and events, Modo has worked in Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire for the past few years putting on some stunning parades and performances such as the Scottish Samurai at Bridge of Don, The Port at the Aberdeen International Youth Festival in 2012, Pandemonium and Leviathan in Peterhead  and Fantasmagoria and Maelstrom in Fraserburgh 2012.

We have just finished the Shell Fireworks Parade 2013 at Aden Country Park, Mintlaw, when a capacity crowd of 5,000 came to watch a thrilling evening’s entertainment in the woods.

In addition Modo works in schools and youth groups across the city and shire.

The exciting news is Modo is up for a People’s Millions award. This would be an amazing opportunity to establish long term Circomodo programmes with all the benefits to participants, volunteers and community. Equally importantly it would secure the future of Modo in the North East. This is not just about the possibility of creating real and exciting opportunities.

It is also about Modo’s chance to establish itself fully in the North East, and have the chance to build on all the work done so far.

Who are Modo?

Modo uses circus to engage young people across Aberdeenshire and help them to change their lives for the better. Harnessing the skills and thrills of circus, Modo helps young people to improve life chances, skills, confidence and self-esteem. 16 young volunteers have recently gained their Saltire and Yava Awards working in partnership with Volunteer Centre Aberdeenshire.

What would the award do?

This award would allow us to run free weekly circus programmes in Mintlaw, Peterhead and Fraserburgh for a whole year.  Young people will gain real skills, helping them in life, school and into training and employment, while having fun, making friends and becoming more engaged with their communities.

“I love coming to Modo, its magic. You’ve given me a new life to look forward to and with the awards and stuff it’s completely changed me. I’m so happy about what I’ve achieved and I feel like I have finally made my mum and dad proud and you’ve helped me to do that. I just wish I started ages ago.”

IMG_1216How do I vote?

Voting is done by phone on Wednesday 27th November. You can vote from 9.00am until midnight on the day and you can vote 10 times from the same phone.

The actual number is only released on the day, so sign up to our Facebook page so we can let you know the number.

Spread the word.

Find Modo Scotland on Facebook or Twitter and tell the world! If you can spare time to help us campaign for votes, please get in touch! We are going to need to get every vote we can to win!

Spend a pound to keep us around.

Every phone can be used ten times to place a vote, so for as little as £1 you can place ten votes for Modo. Every vote counts so please vote ten times.

Circus with Purpose.

Circus is exciting, requires teamwork and has within it clearly defined achievements. Through learning new skills, Circus gives young people a real sense of achievement. As well as pride in their own accomplishments, it allows young people to perform to their community and to gain accreditation, experiences and opportunities. It changes people’s lives through the passion it brings, raising aspirations, excitement and perseverance.

Modo in Aberdeenshire.

Having worked in Aberdeenshire since 2008, this year Modo has set up a permanent base in Peterhead. Although maybe best known for the big parades, behind the scenes Modo has worked with young people across the region.

This year alone we have:

  • run over 600 hours of workshops to over 6,000 participants
  • worked with young people to perform to an audience of over  20,000
  • employed 16 staff, trained & supported 12 volunteers and accredited 100 young people enabled young folk to attend festivals in France, Italy, Germany, Edinburgh and London
  • helped a dozen participants go on to employment, college, and  training

“What Modo achieves with young people is beyond belief. They transform their lives, build confidence and get these youngsters believing in themselves again. I know of a young girl who had a chaotic life, getting into trouble all the time with her family and at school. I will never forget the day she came in to see me all smiles, and all because she was involved with Modo. Now her attitude to life has turned around, she is more positive about where she can see her life going, all this is down to Modo.”

Why we need to be around long term.

By being around long term, we can gain trust and build relationships. To create real progression, we need to spend time with young folk to support them in their development. For young people to commit, they need to know that we are committed. Modo wants to make a difference, and with this award Modo can commit 100% to young folk in Aberdeenshire.

Find out more:

Peoples Millions
Twitter @modoscotland

Vote Modo – Give Circus a Purpose

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