News,  United Kingdom

Circus Journal’s journey of gleeful rebellion comes to a close

Circus Journal has announced their closure after five years and 24 issues. The journal itself focuses on style, creativity and community in the South-West of the UK, and has had an overall print run of 119,000 copies, according to their post on Instagram. Their latest publication – the Midsummer issue, was released in June and is now noted to be their last. The team also publishes the Circus Directory, a showcase of indie businesses in the South-West that accompanies every issue of Circus.

Launched in 2018, the free publication is a “regional media brand with a design, editorial and production philosophy that is changing the way people think about local magazines,” they note on the website. Their core aims were to showcase independent businesses and profile the people who live and work around the areas of Bath, Bristol and the south-west of England. With this niche in mind, Circus looked to champion creativity across its pages – making it a highly crafted publication featuring a love of design, photography and illustration. Not only this, the team also emphasised their approach to being an environmentally friendly title, making sure their print, production and distribution were optimised to match.

Volume 22 Cover © Circus Journal
Volume 24 Spread © Circus Journal
Circus Editor Emily Payne © Emily Payne

June’s midsummer issue focused on the theme of colour. Detailing the issue on Instagram, the team reflect on some of the west’s most “resplendent gardens” in Somerset, and a visit to a vibrant townhouse in Bath. They also delve into some colourful getaways including a treehouse named The Quist, one of The Times’ top new treehouses. There’s also a range of artists featured including illustrator Naomi Wilkinson, artist Jesse Warby and Clemency Rose, a patchwork painter.

The Editor of Circus Emily Payne had this statement for Overleaf: “Circus was a gleeful rebellion against what was happening elsewhere in the publishing world. We wanted to make each issue a keepsake, something beautiful to hold, and reread. We filled it with people doing brilliant things in the south-west, and creative director Kate Monument spun her magic to create a cool, colourful aesthetic. Everything about it was considered. We commissioned the best south-west talent to provide readers with solid journalism, gorgeous photography and original illustrations; the idea was always to elevate what local press could do – tighten communities, support small businesses, intrigue and inspire. But we knew that to keep up with a whirlwind of financial demands, we’d need to evolve.” 

Emily continues: “After 24 issues and five years, the magazine’s publisher Simon Tapscott announced he was starting a new venture: an events platform for the south-west focused on creativity and community. It came as a surprise to the rest of the team; we had all worked hard to build the foundations from which it felt he’d be springboarding. Truthfully, it was frustrating and sad. But life moves on, and ultimately, change is good. We are proud of our complete set of 24 beautiful magazines, and still feel deeply connected to the south-west thanks to all the excellent people we met along the way. What’s next? Kate continues to offer her design and branding skills, and I am an editor, writer and content designer for hire. We also have plans for a joint venture, so watch this space.”

Best of luck to the Circus team for everything in the future.

Volumes 23 and 24 Covers © Circus Journal

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Useful Links

Here are some useful links related to this article. These may include social media links only.

Circus Journal – Official Website
Emily Payne – Website

Correct at time of writing.

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