Lockdown strands circus

Circus Royale owner and ringmaster Damian Syred. Photo supplied

Benjamin Millar

What if the circus came to town but nobody could go?

Circus Royale landed in Caroline Springs for a two-week run late last month, setting up the colourful big top at CS Square.

Yet just as the curtain was set to raise, the snap lockdown came crashing down on the show.

Owner and ringmaster Damian Syred said the fourth lockdown within a year is the latest in a string of blows for the touring circus and its cast of performers from around the world.

“We are pretty much back at the unknown of last year, we don’t really know what’s going to happen from here,” he said.

“We’ve got a lot of international staff that don’t get any of the funding that is available, at this stage we have about 30 staff on-site and we are just waiting for the next updates.”

Even if the extended snap lockdown ends later this week, Mr Syred is concerned that caps on audience numbers mean the circus will remain unviable.

“We were only supposed to be here until this weekend, we were due to go to Melton next for two weeks,” he said.

“We’ve rescheduled, but there’s just no guarantee whether they are going to allow events to go ahead or what the reopening conditions are.”

Mr Syred said the circus needs to attract about 300 people each night just to break even, well above the current cap of 50 people allowed in regional areas where restrictions have been eased more than metro Melbourne.

The situation means the circus remains reliant upon being able to remain put in Caroline Springs while still racking up expenses such as the cost of diesel to keep generators running.

“Each time it’s harder and harder to come back from,” he said.

“It is sad seeing how many businesses haven’t been able to come through, you have to ask yourself how much longer we can keep going?”