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SS Great Britain's aerial acrobatic Summer

Real-life stories of life on board Brunel's SS Great Britain inspire death-defying acrobatic spectacular.
Inspired by real-life stories of passengers and crew on board Brunel's historic SS Great Britain in Bristol, visitors and passers-by will this summer be wowed by astonishing acrobatic displays and death-defying aerial feats as the Invisible Circus climbs aboard.

The SS Great Britain's Summer Spectacular will see pop-up performances take place throughout the day from Saturday 20th July to Sunday 1st September as the acclaimed circus company brings the famous ship and dockyard to life in breath-taking style.

Beginning with naturalistic scenes of passengers, dock workers and sailors preparing for voyage, performers will emerge from the site in and amongst the visitors, building their performance to deliver a true circus spectacular. 

Highly skilled aerial artists will fling themselves from the rigging, spiral down from the crow's nest to the deck, perform acrobatic displays on mountains of luggage and juggle everything from ropes and shipping crates to trunks and suitcases.

Devised and performed by some of the UK's leading circus artists, the real-life animations will begin with historically accurate portrayals such as dock workers loading cargo or sailors singing sea shanties before morphing into a spectacular theatrical experience.

Matthew Tanner, chief executive of the SS Great Britain Trust says:

"We are enormously proud of Brunel's world-changing ocean liner here in Bristol and the newly created Being Brunel experience which allow our visitors to step back in time and explore history and innovation in the making. Invisible Circus's breath-taking performance will bring an exciting new dimension to a day spent with us - offering a truly immersive experience inspired by some of the incredibly detailed and personal stories of people who sailed on this historic ship."

Sarah Fielding, director at Invisible Circus adds:

"We wanted to bring this incredible ship and dockyard to life in a way that is rooted in its powerful and significant history. Our performances will emerge gradually to build an eye-catching spectacle around the visitors, before gradually fading back into the site."

Many of the performers themselves have personal connection to the sea and sailing, with several cast members living on boats in Bristol Harbour.

Bristol based circus artist Em Puddy grew up on Lundy Island, off the coast of North Devon. The daughter of a sailor and steam-boat enthusiast, as a pre-schooler Em was often found at the helm of the MS Oldenburg passenger ferry which was the islanders' primary link with the mainland.

Em has helped to devise the Summer Spectacular and will perform throughout the summer. She says:

"The sea and sailing are in my blood, having grown up surrounded by the sea on a small island and with my dad a sailor. My brother too is sailing the ocean waves in real life, as a crew member on yachts and cruise ships, so it's wonderful not only to follow in the family tradition in my own way - but to perform and work on board the grandmother of all passenger ships."

Invisible Circus have been wowing audiences with their ground-breaking fusion of circus, stagecraft, storytelling and dreamscapes for more than 10 years.  They have produced shows everywhere from regency theatres, festivals and circus big tops to old fire stations and industrial facilities.

Also during summer, while exploring one of the most important ships in the world, families can meet Mr. Brunel, get up close to objects from the archive and for those who are brave enough, climb the rigging 15 meters above the deck with the ship's Go Aloft experience!

Brunel's ss Great Britain is the world's first great ocean liner and the most experimental steam ship of her time. Launched in 1843, this iron-hulled steamship revolutionised travel and set new standards in engineering, reliability, and speed. Today, Brunel's SS Great Britain has won more than 20 national and international museum awards including UK Museum of the Year and Enjoy England Large Visitor Attraction of the Year.  It is also home to the Brunel Institute, housing one of the world's finest maritime and Brunel collections

Visitors can be sure of a warm welcome as the museum recently won the award as Europe's most welcoming museum at the prestigious European Museum of the Year Awards. 

Tickets to Brunel's SS Great Britain cost £17 per adult, £10 per child (5-16 years old) and under 4s go free - buy online for a 5% discount. Tickets are valid for unlimited return visits for 12 months.

SS Great Britain

Great Western Dockyard, Gasferry Rd, Bristol, BS1 6TY

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