Danish circuses face hard times

The Benneweis circus has already pulled the plug on the 2016 season, and Circuses Dannebrog and Arena are in financial straits as well

The Benneweis circus announced over the weekend that it is suspending its 2016 season for financial reasons.

Meanwhile, much of the Danish circus industry seems to be in similar economic trouble – a problem that was highlighted when many accused DR’s circus of using unfair competition to steal their business away.

Dannebrog, for example, was not long ago subjected to compulsory dissolution after years of losses.

READ MORE: DR’s circus accused of unfair competition

The worst was in 2014, when the company lost 1.4 million kroner. External auditors would not approve the company’s accounts.

Family businesses
The Enoch family, the owners of Dannebrog, created new companies to continue the circus.

“We have lawyers looking at our best options, but it is a family circus, so there are many opinions,” current company head Agnete Louise Solveig Enoch told Ekstra Bladet.

Enoch said the circus have improved earnings by cutting down on the number of cities they visit and arranging special performances.

“The last one was actually the best season ever,” she said. “We had to put on extra shows while we were in Ørestad in Copenhagen, and we then arranged performances at banks and supermarkets on the way home.”

New names, same old problems
The company behind Circus Arena is also in serious financial trouble. Circus manager Benny Arne Berdino-Olsen has let several companies go bankrupt to start up the circus under a new name.

The company running the circus, European Circus Production, is currently 3.4 million kroner in the red.

“Every time it seems impossible, I find another way,” said Berdino-Olsen. “I believe there needs to be circuses in Denmark. I’m like a cork that keeps bobbing back up.”

The show must go on
Berdino-Olsen managed to reduce a few deficits last summer, but the various companies involved with Circus Arena are still 7.7 million kroner in the red.

“None of us are doing well,” said Berdino-Olsen. “But as long as there is enthusiasm and optimism, there will be a circus tent going up somewhere.”