Behind the Scenes of the Lost Carnival :: 31 July – 30 August 2017

Star-crossed lovers. A carnival lost in time. Saved by a phoenix in 2015, and scene of the most incredible battle of the carnivals in 2016, the Lost Carnival is back in 2017, but not as you know it!

Two carnival families, the Birds and the Ingenues, have been sworn rivals for almost as long as they can remember, their feud culminating in an incredible battle last summer. Now the families have decided to join forces, to spend the summer rehearsing together and teaching each other their tricks of the trade.

Before the summer is over, however, the carnival must bring back their head honchos, Sergei Bird and Popou Ingenue. Without them, the carnival may never tour again. Childhood sweethearts, they met again at the battle of the carnivals last summer, and have a love so strong, it will either save the Lost Carnival, or tear it apart forever!

So the carnival families are settling for the summer in the gardens of Dunham Massey, chosen for its historical links to the mystery and magic of the circus. Join them as they rehearse, send messages and pleas for Sergei and Popou to return and, most importantly, keep the carnival alive until they do. Only with your help can they keep the carnival going for long enough.

You can venture Behind the Scenes of the Lost Carnival from 31 July – 30 August, open from 10.30-4.30pm daily. You’ll embark on a self-led theatrical adventure through the gardens. Enjoy a trail of beautiful installations filled with circus and theatrical challenges. Meet performers and help them keep hula hoops twirling, prepare costumes and practice songs. Turn a zoetrope (one of the earliest animation techniques through a revolving, slitted drum) to continue to ensure an acrobat comes to life. Write letters to the star-crossed lovers and heads of the rival carnivals Sergei and Popou to persuade them to meet at Dunham Massey and discover more about the history of the carnival in Popou’s enchanting caravan.

Behind the Scenes of the Lost Carnival is a free event –  normal admission applies for the garden (free for NT members). Don’t forget to collect your tickets at the visitor centre before heading to the garden.

You can hear the incredible and mysterious story of the Lost Carnival in the first two seasons of the Lost Carnival Podcast – available to download on iTunes and at