Michael Scibilia is a PhD candidate in the School of Film, Media and Communications at Monash University.
Given the myriad of entertainment options in Melbourne each weekend, it's remarkable to think the traditional circus remains one of them.
It's an industry that has dwindled over time as paddocks have turned into shopping centres and councils have bowed to the demands of animal liberationists, but there are still a few survivors.
Perry Bros Circus, which dates back to 1852, is one of those survivors and will be showing at Camperdown Showgrounds from July 29th to July 31st, 2011.
Held within a small big top with a sawdust-filled ring, there's a real sentimental charm about this circus. Most of its acts are performed to the tunes of traditional circus music rather than Top 40 hits, and the entire operation is run by a small, multi-tasking family. The family, in fact, is said to be one of the oldest in the Australian circus business.
From daring feats such as the tight rope to the humorous antics of clowns, the kids are sure to be captivated throughout the performance while parents will enjoy a nostalgic return to the experiences of their own childhood. After all, this is how the circus used to be, long before the arrival of global productions like Cirque du Soleil.
The ticket prices haven't changed too much over the years either, with general admission costing just $15 for adults and $10 for children. Ringside's only a little more. The show lasts for around 1 hour and 45 minutes including intermission and further information on the circus can be found at its official website here.
Perry Bros' traditional big top, Bayswater North, April 2010.