Sunday 24 September 2017

Fossett's circus on a roll as it posts profits of €44,231

Dancers Claire Deegan, Sarrah Fossett and Christine Sorrenson from Fossett's circus which is celebrating 125 years in business
Dancers Claire Deegan, Sarrah Fossett and Christine Sorrenson from Fossett's circus which is celebrating 125 years in business

Gordon Deegan

Profits at Fossett Brothers Circus increased four fold to €44,231 in the last financial year as it benefited from government grants, new figures show.

The Dublin-based circus, which celebrates its 125th anniversary this year, is the world's longest-running and oldest traditional circus.

Marketing manager Charles O'Brien said yesterday that the circus performed to 80,000 to 90,000 customers last year in its 800-seat circus at 65 locations across Ireland.

"We are celebrating our 125th anniversary by surviving," he said yesterday.

"The brief for any family-owned circus is to pass the baton on to the next generation. That is the mission statement."

Fossett's was established in Ireland in 1888 and Mr O'Brien said that the current Fossett Brothers Circus is being run by the sixth and seventh generation Fossetts.

Following a long campaign, circus was recognised as an art form by the Government in 2003. Mr O'Brien stressed yesterday that the circus "is not a dying art form" and in the recession families like the escape of going to the circus. Fossett's received €30,000 from the Arts Council last year, but requires more grant funding from the council.

Twelve of the 36 full-time employees are Fossetts including 83-year-old grandmother Herta Fossett who runs the circus shop.

"Revenues and profits would have fallen substantially from what was being made in the 1960s and 1970s, but we manage to make a modest profit today," Mr O'Brien said.

Figures just lodged with the Companies Office show that Fossett Brothers Circus Ltd's accumulated losses fell to €186,348 in the last financial year from €230,579 previously.

Fossett's stopped using elephants and other exotic animals seven years ago "due to commercial and altruistic reasons". The decision allowed the circus to re-position itself and start performing at events such as Electric Picnic, the Rose of Tralee and Listowel Writers' Week.

A note in the accounts states that the future viability of the company is based on the continued support of its creditors, bankers, shareholders and the company directors.

Irish Independent

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