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Send in the clowns, Kempsey, as historic circus sets up camp

In a spin and a twist: Contortionist Keira Valencia, trapeze artist Cassie Millard and chair hand Balance Acacia Teixeira from Lennon Bros Circus. Photo: Nigel McNeil THE famous Lennon Brothers Circus is coming to town this week to perform at the Kempsey Showground.
Nanjing Night Net

Managers Cheryl and Geoffrey Lennon, and brother Warren, are part of the fifth generation of the Lennon family to have operated the circus since 1893.

The 10th generation is already practising for the day they take over, with 10-year-old Trystann who is an apprentice clown and is also learning trampoline and trapeze.

Geoffrey retired as a performer after years training lions, performing on the wheel of death and as one of the circus’ most beloved clowns.

“He made a lot of people laugh over the years,” Mrs Lennon said.

All generations in between are performers in the circus.

This is about the 10th time the cavalcade of trucks and caravans has rolled into town, bringing with it 35 performers, riggers and those behind the scenes.

The Lennons also own Stardust Circus and have a close affiliation with the Great Moscow Circus.

Along with the antics of the clowns, the roar of the lions, and the daring of the acrobats and aerialists, the two hour show includes three llamas, three camels, four monkeys and 11 dogs.

With its 122-year heritage, Lennon Bros Circus is the oldest touring circus in Australia, starting as a buck jump show.

“A lot of things have changed since then,” Mrs Lennon said.

There is still a small sideshow alley with an inflatable slide, laughing clowns and pony rides, snacks, drinks and games, but it is much smaller than in the early years.

One thing that has changed is some people’s attitude towards having wild animals perform and travel in cages.

“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but they should get their facts right,” Mrs Lennon said.

“They (lions) were born and bred in captivity.

“They have interaction every day with their trainer, and have a massive bond between them. It’s very upsetting when people say things like ‘it’s cruel’.”

Mrs Lennon said their cages are ‘oversized’ and they invite anyone to go along and see them.

“We have nothing to hide.”

She said the animals don’t train in the heat either.

“The lions don’t do what they don’t want to. They know their routines, and might practise once a day in cooler weather.

“But the performers might practise several times a day.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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