Life Beyond The Big Top – Stories Of The Tai Thean

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Kew Circus

“Life Beyond the Big Top” is a photo book that captures the history of the Tai Thean Kew Circus (⼤大天 球⻢马戏团), a once great Chinese circus established in Singapore in 1929.

The collection of old photographs and surviving props and costumes belong to Sze Ling Fen and Wong Fu Qi, lead performers of the circus, make up this visual documentation of an almost five-decade long performing career beginning in childhood.

Through the eyes of their granddaughter, Adele Wong, be transported then, to a front row seat viewing the dazzling circus acts and astounding animals at the peak of the circus’ success, before running offstage to join the circus folks on their nomadic lives and private adventures as they travelled around the region.

This is Adele Wong’s first project since her recent return to Singapore, after 3 1/2 years in Japan. With the Singapore Memory Project and irememberSG Fund, the 2009 National Art’s Council Arts Creation Fund-recipient Adele had been working on this pictorial biography based on their grandparents’ lives as acrobats in the once-vibrant family circus – Tai Thean Kew Circus (⼤大天球⻢马戏团).

Discover the evolution of live performance shows, as the performers adapt their skills to changing demands. At the end of it all, reminisce as we return to the performers’ present-day retirement and rummage through their collection of old performing items and costumes.

Editorialw by Steffan “CrossFit” Fung

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