Peter Lavery: 50 Years of Circus Portraits

Peter Lavery: 50 Years of Circus Portraits

24 Mar - 3 Jun 18


24 Mar - 3 Jun 18

Unfortunately, tickets for this event are no longer available. Subscribe to our newsletter below to be first to hear about similar events



For 50 years, acclaimed photographer Peter Lavery has followed and documented circuses around the UK and Ireland, capturing backstage moments of introspection, vulnerability and the reality of nomadic lifestyles.

Peter's passion for the circus dates from 1968, when he visited a small indoor circus in his hometown of Wakefield. Touring in his caravan and taking photographs over the decades has made Lavery a part of the circus community and granted him unlimited access to all parts of circus life.

Lavery’s monochrome prints, taken between 1970 and 1996, are exhibited alongside colour photography from his latest series of circus works. Shot on a large plate camera, Lavery’s portraits document the ebb and flow of the fortunes of the circus in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The theatrical glamour of the performer is juxtaposed against backstage realism.These intimate shots bring audiences closer than ever to the people behind the performance.

Peter Lavery: 50 Years of Circus Portraits will be accompanied by a new publication produced by the artist and available from the RWA shop.

This exhibition is part of Sawdust and Sequins - a major exhibition of historic and contemporary art that marks the UK's distinct circus heritage.

Times & Prices

Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5.30pm

Sunday 11am-5pm

CLOSED Mondays

Last admission 30 minutes before closing. The RWA occasionally closes early for special events. Please call ahead or check the website for details.

Adults: £7.95 (includes a 80p donation)

Concessions: £6.75 (includes a 70p donation)

Under 16s/SGS, UoB & UWE students: FREE

National Art Pass holders: 50% discount on ticket price


Sign up to our newsletter to keep up to date with RWA news


Varekai (Wherever) - RWA Pop-up Exhibition Off-site

Vibrant and colourful works from the RWA permanent collection on show at 6 community venues across the city

The RWA Collection - Our Heritage, Our Future (Off-site)

A selection of historic and contemporary works from the RWA Permanent Collection in the Victoria Methodist Church.

168 Annual Open Exhibition

Bristol's Royal Academy presents its 168th Annual Open Exhibition, showcasing some of the most exciting artists from across the country and beyond

Academician Candidates' Exhibition 2020

An exhibition of works by this year's shortlisted Academician Candidates