How to Start a Circus with Friends

Creating a circus is fun, but it'll be even better when you've got friends to help you! If you're looking for an 'out-of-the-box' idea to earn pocket money, this guide will show you how to.


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    Gather friends. You can work with as many as you like - the choice is yours. You may want to pick friends according to their strengths. For example: you and two other friends are good at calculating money and charging reasonable prices, three friends are good at circus skills like acrobatics, one adult for technical things, two friends who are artsy, etc. Do make sure you all can actually work well with each other. It won't help if half your friends don't like the other half.
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    Think about two locations - one big enough for the circus and another one for a meeting place. A friend who has a large backyard could work as a location for the circus. As more and more people come to your circus, you might need a bigger space. Keep that in mind and always have a backup!
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    Plan. This might as well be one of the most important steps of creating your circus. Here are some possible ideas you can elaborate on:
    • Finance - How much are your tickets? What are you going to sell, if any? What are your starting goals? Who will be at the ticket booth?
    • Food/Things you might be selling - Popcorn? Candy floss?
    • The circus itself - Will you rent a big top tent? Make it yourself? Where will you put your seats?
    • Advertising - Posters? Signboards? Word-of-mouth? Via social networking?
    • Other things - You can consider lighting, costumes, circus acts, anything. The possibilities are endless.
  4. Image titled Start a Circus with Friends Step 4
    Start! When you have finished planning, and you are sure everyone agrees, you can get started! Everyone should pitch in. To raise funds to run your circus, you can hold a lemonade stand or bake sale. Start printing out your tickets, and get your entire circus ready before the first show.
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    Write down a schedule the night before your (first) show. Make sure everyone knows when to come on, and when to end. You can never be too prepared! Also, you might want to check the weather forecast. Unless water isn't going to soak through the tent and/or the candy floss machine, try to put all show dates on days which the weather isn't that bad. Be aware that in winter months there is a high chance you won't get as many customers as a lot of people prefer to stay home during the day.
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    Review and go over the show the next day. A good idea would be to write down a list of all the strengths, weaknesses and improvements you can make about the show. This will help you earn more money and attract more customers! Who knows? You might even be featured in the daily newspaper. Then, split the money and plan for your next show! If you weren't as successful as you thought you would be, don't fret. The beginning is always the hardest, and the most important lesson is to never give up. Should one of your friends become unable to participate anymore for some reason, you can still do the show.
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    Expand and add. The bigger, the better! You can take circus courses, perform at your school and add more merchandise, like popcorn machines and t-shirts. Good luck and most importantly, have fun!


  • Try not to put circus shows on school days! Some people, part of your crew, and even you perhaps will need to go to school and will have less time to set up. Saturdays, Sundays or public holidays are good days to host circus shows on.
  • Don't be upset if hardly anyone turns up to your first show. The beginning is always the hardest.
  • Mix up the shows a little! One day, you can have dog tricks and acrobatics, but the next you might have skateboard tricks and a magician.
  • Make sure everyone (including you) that is involved in the circus - e.g. performers, set designers, etc - gets an equal share of the profit.


  • If you want to enhance your circus by adding new tricks - such as the tightrope - but you can't afford to do it or you are inexperienced, don't try to do it.
  • Unless you plan to actually travel around towns, remember that circus equipment can be very expensive!
  • You will need an adult to help you with some things.
  • Be careful with any tricks or stunts - it is possible to get hurt.
  • Don't rip people off!

Things You'll Need

  • You and a group of friends
  • An adult (optional)
  • A circus tent
  • A large enough space to set up your circus
  • Tickets and a ticket booth
  • Posters
  • Circus performers
  • Food and/or merchandise - e.g. candy floss, popcorn, drinks, etc

Article Info

Categories: Carnivals Circuses and Theme Parks