Advertisment for Astley’s Amphitheatre The Hertzberg Circus Collection of the Witte Museum, San Antonio Texas
Philip Astley is often associated with being the father of the modern circus. His early attempts at entertainment established many of the traditions that are still used today. He was the first to utilize a round performance space, and often focused on acts that exhibited physical skill and danger. What began as a one man equestrian show soon turned into a full performance of entertainment and skill. Although Astley never worked in America, his ideas and acts influenced the beginning of circuses worldwide.