Ukrainian circus acts put fear aside to entertain Derbyshire families

Circus Cortex will visit Bakewell Showground from April 20 to 24, 2023 (photo: Dan Foster)Circus Cortex will visit Bakewell Showground from April 20 to 24, 2023 (photo: Dan Foster)
Circus Cortex will visit Bakewell Showground from April 20 to 24, 2023 (photo: Dan Foster)
Entertainers who fled war-torn Ukraine will be putting a smile on the faces of families in Derbyshire.

The 15 artistes are among the Circus Cortex troupe who will be performing at Bakewell Showground from April 20 to 24, 2023, in a show entitled Warriors.

These Ukrainian performers – including unicyclists who have a seven-year-old son and married clowns who fled to Hungary on the eve of war breaking out – add a layer of poignancy to the show and its theme.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Irina Archer, director/owner and producer of Circus Cortex, said: “The war may not be headline worthy news to many in the UK in 2023, but for our Ukrainian performers, it is never far from their minds and they live with this very real fear day in and day out while performing and bringing smiles to UK audience.”

The circus’s previous run of shows in the UK saw 70 percent of the cast drawn from the Ukraine and most had planned to return for this year’s tour. But the conflict put paid to their plans.

Among the technical crew on Circus Cortex’s latest tour is Arron Ketley, a qualified Special Forces Support Group operator-mortar man. Having left the British Army in 2021 following nearly a decade of risking his life on missions around the world, Arron returned to the frontline to support the Ukrainian Army for six months, training and fighting alongside many battling to save their fellow countrymen amid the Russian invasion.

Irina said: “Arron has proven himself one of our most responsible and dedicated workers, helping with everything not just technical, but also moral based. We are truly blessed to have him working alongside us this season.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Wire walking, aerial straps, juggling and plate-spinning are among the spectacular sights that Circus Cortex will be offering at their performances in Bakewell. The circus performs in a smaller-scale big top that provides an intimate atmosphere and allows the audience to feel closer to the artistes.

Shows take place at the following times: Thursday, April 20, 5pm and 7.30pm; Friday, April 21, 5pm and 7.30pm; Saturday, April 22, 3pm and 6pm; Sunday, April 23, 1pm and 4pm; Monday, April 24; 5pm and 7.30pm.

All tickets cost £10. To book, go to

Related topics: