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Famous Fillis Circus visits Paarl, 1888

Drakenstein Heemkring

Backstage Backstage at the circus 1891, painting by Arturo Michelena (1863-1898) –            (Wikimedia Commons)

In April 1888 the famous Fillis Circus visited Paarl and produced three shows on Market Square. Frank Fillis (1857-1921) was a circus impresario. He produced his first show in South Africa in 1883, and became known for his elaborate and lavish productions in Johannesburg, Kimberley and Cape Town. His company had more than 100 performers and also toured the British Empire. His wife Vincenda was said to be the first “human cannon ball”. The Boswell brothers also worked for the Fillis Circus. The Boswell family later went on to establish their own circus.

Paarl District Advertiser, 7 April 1888 Paarl District Advertiser, 7 April 1888

De Jongste invoer van WILDE DIEREN voor Fillis Circus zal ten toon gesteld worden aan de Paarl en daaronder de LEEUWE. Prachtige exemplaren van deze Koningen des Wouds, verkregen van den Kaizer van…

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