The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus ends its 146-year run this week at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island, ending a circus tradition created by PT Barnum and continued on by the Feld Family.
Sources tell Amplify that 600 Feld employees are being laid off as a result. Expected to lose their jobs are most performers, touring and production professionals and a handful of employees at Feld’s Ellenton, Florida office. Many of the circus performers are expected to go overseas to pursue new opportunities.
Feld officials have also sold off a number of the circus’ assets including the trains used to transport the circus from city to city. Feld will continue to hold the intellectual property rights to Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus. It will also continue to operate 22 touring shows, including Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes, which was announced today and will premiere June 23 in New Orleans. A full list of dates is available here.
Feld Entertainment announced in January that it was closing down the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus following a decision in 2015 to retire the circus elephants.
“The decision to end the circus tours was made as a result of high costs coupled with a decline in ticket sales, making the circus an unsustainable business for the company,” a release from the company read. “Following the transition of the elephants off the circus, the company saw a decline in ticket sales greater than could have been anticipated.”
Kenneth Feld, Chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, said “We are grateful to the hundreds of millions of fans who have experienced Ringling Bros. over the years. Between now and May, we will give them one last chance to experience the joy and wonder of Ringling Bros.”
“This was a difficult business decision to make, but by ending the circus tours, we will be able to concentrate on the other lines of business within the Feld Entertainment portfolio,” said Juliette Feld, Feld Entertainment’s Chief Operating Officer. “Now that we have made this decision, as a company, and as a family, we will strive to support our circus performers and crew in making the transition to new opportunities,” she added.