The circus is back in town + VIDEO

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ROLL up, roll up, the circus is back in town.

Bobby Roberts Circus is sure to draw a crowd at Whitburn tonight.

Bobby Roberts Circus on the seafront at Whitburn, South Tyneside. Ringmaster and Musical Clown David Konyot

Bobby Roberts Circus on the seafront at Whitburn, South Tyneside. Ringmaster and Musical Clown David Konyot

Performers with music, horse and pony acts and death-defying stunts make up the show.

But the circus’s use of animals has not been without criticism and controversy.

In 2010, there was anger when a video was released that showed its elephant, Anne, who has since retired, allegedly being beaten by one of the circus grooms.

In June, owners Bobby and Moira Roberts will go on trial accused of causing unneccessary suffering to the elephant.

Bobby Roberts Circus on the seafront at Whitburn, South Tyneside. Summer Roberts with her miniature ponies

Bobby Roberts Circus on the seafront at Whitburn, South Tyneside. Summer Roberts with her miniature ponies

But today, as the circus arrived at Wheathall Farm, in Mill Lane, musical clown and ring leader David Konyot defended the spectacle.

The 64-year-old says that while they may not be as popular as yesteryear, it still has pulling power.

“It’s live, it’s traditional and it’s dangerous. There’s about 30 circuses left in the country, and we worked out that about a million people have seen them over the last year. The appetite to see things like this is still there.”

However, not everyone in the area has been as welcoming.

Last year saw protesters voice their anger at a circus which uses animals coming to the North East.

“I’ve got no problem with people protesting,” said David. “It’s the ones that are obnoxious and call us and our customers animal abusers that I don’t understand.

“For instance, I don’t want to see horses racing, but I didn’t see any people protesting at the Grand National the other week when two of them died.

“They should have respect for people that want to come and experience the circus.”

David’s Hungarian wife Anna, 45, who also performs in the show, agreed.

“You’d be able to tell if the animals didn’t want to be part of it.

“But they are friendly with us because they are well looked after.”

Bobby Roberts Super Circus starts at 7.30pm and runs until Sunday.

For ticket information go to www.bobby-roberts.co.uk.

Twitter: @davidallison88