“I held the jewel of my childhood up to my eye, and through it I saw ponies and a dressing-up box and a tent, and that was Giffords Circus.”

Nell began Gifford Circus in 2000 together with her husband. It is a magical village green circus that tours England throughout the summer. Audiences are invited to a spectacle of jaw-dropping acrobatics and aerialists, gypsy violinists, tight-rope walkers, trapeze artistes, stunt riders, opera singers and illusionists. They have entertained over 650,000 people since their first show.

Nell Gifford has a degree in English Literature from New College, Oxford. She began her career at Circus Flora in the USA and has since worked on Santus Circus, Chinese State Circus, Bobby Roberts Super Circus and Circus Roncalli in Germany under Yasmine Smart. Nell’s first book Josser, the secret life of a circus girl (Little Brown), is about her life in the circus. She has also written a children’s biography on the inventor of the circus, Phillip Astley (The Short Book Company). Her latest book Giffords Circus – the first ten years (The History Press), gives a colourful account of the creation of Giffords.

In 2007, Nell was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from the University of Gloucestershire, and in 2010 was presented with the inaugural ‘Maverick Award’ by the Groucho Club, London. She lives in the Cotswolds with her family.