We are delighted to announce Waldo’s Circus of Magic and Terror – a new circus theatre musical set in a travelling circus.

About the Show

After a busy couple of years touring Human and Delicate, Extraordinary Bodies are embarking on our most ambitious project to date.

Our story unfolds in 1933 Germany. The world is becoming darker and more dangerous – Nazis are burning books and suspending civil rights. Many are desperate to escape, but for Waldo and his travelling circus of outcasts, acrobats and aerialists, ‘the show must go on’. 

As Hitler’s dictatorship strengthens and the law for “Prevention of Offspring with Hereditary Diseases” is passed, the eclectic troupe face a new and direct threat. In this daring tale of humanity, courage and resistance, love, loyalty and risk-taking balance on the tightwire.

The popularity of eugenics in early 1930s Germany marked the beginning of a dark chapter in history where millions of people who were deemed not to conform were brutally persecuted and murdered… Whilst researching this period, the role of the circus in helping some of these people escape and find sanctuary provided the basis for Waldo’s circus

Jamie Beddard, Writer

This spectacular story is informed by historical research and the experiences of real performers. It is based on an original idea by Hattie Naylor (Ivan and the Dogs, The Night Watch) and co-written by herself and Jamie Beddard (Messiah, The Elephant Man) with an original score by composer Charles Hazlewood (Paraorchestra). 

When I write a score… I write for the performers in the rehearsal room and borrow from each and any, and all musical worlds. For Waldo’s Circus where Hattie and Jamie have written very beautiful, lyrical prose, I thought – how about if we created a kind of punk circus that also borrowed from new romanticism, techno and renaissance? There’s no incongruity about having a punk aria followed by a piece of renaissance counterpoint – and that’s what the show will be

Charles Hazlewood, Composer

The show is co-directed by our Co-Artistic Director Billy Alwen, with Claire Hodgson (Co-Artistic Director of Diverse City). They previously directed the Extraordinary Bodies’ show Human together, which you can watch online here.

Bristol Old Vic and Theatre Royal Plymouth are co-producers of the show.


As with all our productions, accessibility is at the heart of everything we do at Extraordinary Bodies.

Waldo’s Circus of Magic and Terror is a large scale collaboration between D/deaf, disabled, and non-disabled artists and creators. All performances are chilled, BSL interpreted, captioned and audio described.

Where to See It

We are over the moon to be creating this in our local and historic theatre, Bristol Old Vic.

The show will open here on 11th March, before embarking on a nationwide tour:

Bristol Old Vic 11 Mar – 1 Apr
The Lowry Salford Quays 20 – 22 Apr
Theatre Royal Plymouth 26 – 29 Apr
MAST Mayflower Studios Southampton 4 – 6 May
Lighthouse Poole 20 May
Brighton Dome 7 Jun

For more information please visit the show’s website.

Photo Credits: Paul Blakemore