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Big Apple Circus to Return This Fall Under New Ownership

Big Apple Circus to Return This Fall Under New Ownership

UPDATE, Aug. 9, 2017, 11am: Big Apple Circus will return to its original location at Lincoln Center and the first show is set for Oct. 26, according to a press release. The circus is slated to have shows from October through January before launching a national tour.


After filing for bankruptcy last year, Big Apple Circus is set to return this fall for the 2017-2018 season under Big Top Works. 

On Tuesday, Feb. 14, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York approved the acceptance of a winning auction bid for the Big Apple Circus. It will now be owned by Big Top Works, an affiliate of Florida-based investment firm Compass Partners.

Big Top Works made its bid at a live auction on Feb. 7 at the New York offices of Debevoise & Plimpton. The new owner claimed the circus and its rights at a price of $1.3 million dollars. A sum short of the $2 million goal for the “Save the Circus” emergency fundraising drive this past summer, which raised $900,000 before the circus subsequently closed and later filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November. The circus had lost many of its funds after the 2008 financial crisis.

Now under new ownership, the Big Apple Circus quickly announced its return for the 2017-2018 season, which will also coincide with the 40th anniversary of the circus’s first performance in 1977.

But don’t expect too much deviation from the original Big Apple Circus. The court-ordered auction declared that the new owner would have to maintain the Big Apple Circus’s mission and vision as well as continue special performances for children with autism and disabilities, according to The New York Times.

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A yet-to-be-determined location for the circus’s performances will be announced this spring. It’s not yet known if the Big Apple Circus will return to its original location, Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center, where it has hosted shows since the 1980s. 

“We look forward to presenting the circus everyone knows and loves, and honoring the legacy that has been built over the past several decades, while crafting a thrilling experience for today’s audiences,” Neil Kahanovitz, a Big Top Works member, said in a statement to amNewYork.


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