Ringling Brothers Circus Announces That They Will Return Without the Animals

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In 2017, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus had closed their doors after they received massive pushback from animal rights groups. Additionally, there seemed to be some shifts in the tastes of the audience.

The circus had begun in 1871, making it the longest-ever-running circus in the world. So for many, it was bittersweet when they shut down six years ago.

However, the company just announced that they will be coming back next year—but not without some big changes. The Circus will be bringing back “The Greatest Show on Earth—just without animals.

We know what you’re thinking: How can this circus possibly perform without the animals that they’ve relied on for so long? The circus is known for s acts featuring lions, tigers and elephants. But after so much pressure from animal rights groups, it only made sense to stop using animals in their acts.

“We will not be touring animals,” said Juliette Feld Grossman, a producer of the revived circus.

“That’s the past, and the great thing is that we’ve had a blank piece of paper to reimagine,” agreed producer Kenneth Feld.

The circus actually also shut down in 1918 during the influenza pandemic. “That was when Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey combined in 1919 because they didn’t want to take a risk with all these other shows coming,” Feld said.

The new version of the circus has been in the works since the pandemic began, and should be opening their doors again by fall of 2023.

Instead of animals, the circus will be using more humans for their acts—death-defying, jaw-dropping acts, that is. To find people to volunteer, producers have held worldwide auditions, where more than 1,000 performers have auditioned. About 75 are expected to make the cut.

“What we’re seeing is huge demand for people,” Grossman said. “To be in person and to see things that are real.”

The circus also plans to use social media to help engage their audience, especially during the times of the show.

While the rest of the details still remain under wraps, we know it will probably be pretty great. After all, the company produces other popular productions such as Disney on Ice, Sesame Street Live and Monster Jam.

“I’ve been part of Ringling my whole life, and now we’re excited to make that real for everybody else,” Grossman said.

Learn more about what you can expect when the circus comes back in the video below!

Have you ever seen the Ringling Brothers Circus live before it shut down? What do you think the new show will be like?