Growing up in the Bangladesh Traveling Circus

For weeks I was trying to find out where a circus was taking place here in Bangladesh. Finally I heard of one happening just a few hours north of Dhaka and was able to spend two days working there, but they left town two weeks early because of low attendance. A few months later I got word one was happening in Jamsha. We headed out early in the morning from Dhaka, and what was only about 100 miles took us 5 hours. One popped tire and a boat ride later, because of course the bridge wasn’t finished being built yet, we arrived to a run down tent but lively group of circus performers. They all traveled together throughout the year and lived in tin sheds constructed behind the circus tent. Both parents and young children are all part of the act.

Generations of low income families are born into circuses with rarely the hope of ever working in different profession or escaping the harsh realities of the circus. The children, often very young, are trained to be full working members usually without the opportunity for an education. As modernization slowly takes over landscape of Bangladesh, the circus is a dying art form and is moving further and further away from mainstream entertainment.

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