The circus is one of the world's favourite entertainments for everyone from 1 to 101, and this year marks the 250th anniversary of the invention of circus entertainment.

Together with his wife, war hero and trick-rider Phillip Astley roped off a ring in an open field in Lambeth, London, near today's Waterloo Station, and performed astounding displays of equestrian expertise.

Building on their early success, the couple then added a clown, rope-walkers and acrobats to their presentation, and the circus was born.

Bromyard actor Chris Barltrop has worked as a circus ringmaster all over the world for over 40 years, appearing in two Royal Variety Performances and spending seven years on tour in the UK with the renowned Moscow State Circus. To help celebrate Phillip Astley's legacy, Chris has written a one-man play, Audacious Mr Astley, in which Astley himself tells the story of how circus came to be, and reveals his character and personality.

The play won a five-star rating at this year's prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival, praised by the critics as "fascinating, engaging" and "Entertaining, informative, classy!'

See Audacious Mr Astley in the Falcon Mews in Bromyard on Saturday, November 10, when the evening will start with a two-course buffet supper. Tickets available from reception at The Falcon, or call 01885 483034.

Chris will then perform the piece a second time on Monday, November 12, in the studio at the Regal Theatre Tenbury. For tickets, call 01584 811442 (weekdays 10am to 2pm) or visit