Former lawyer raises the Big Top in Highfield Park

Chaplin's Circus

Chaplin's Circus - Credit: Archant

A former millionaire lawyer who turned his back on the city to pursue his dream of owning his own circus comes to St Albans this Easter.,

Gary Stocker, 31, gave up his wealthy lifestyle to set up and run Chaplin’s Circus after collaborating with a friend and fellow street performer.

After a successful tour around southern England last year, Chaplin’s Circus will be open at Highfield Park from this Saturday, March 28, to April 7.

Inspired by the circus formats of Europe and Asia in particular, the performance itself is narrative driven, telling the story of a 1920s circus with only two hours remaining to repay its debts to the bank and avoid permanent closure.

Gary explained: “The show is based on the following storyline: It is the 4th of August 1924. Chaplin’s Circus has just two hours remaining to repay its debts and save itself from bankruptcy and everything is riding on the success of this one performance.

“While the Ringmaster has an exciting plan to bring in the crowds and reverse the circus’ ailing fortunes, it seems that Chaplin’s creditors will stop at nothing to ensure this performance fails.”

He added: “The show, which is totally animal free, is aimed at both the youngest of children and the eldest of adults.

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Gary himself is the Great Herrmann, the human cannonball who rounds off the show when he is fired across the full length of the stage into a barrel of water.

Chaplin’s Circus uses West End performers, which this year also includes China Soul, singer and daughter of David, of TV’s Starsky and Hutch fame.

The team is committed to giving back to the communities it visits - this year it is partnering with Home Start St Albans in a fundraising initiative as well as running free circus skills workshops.

For more information, times and availability, go to