ringling bros. and barnum and bailey circus

John Bender / RIPR

Children of all ages will say their goodbyes to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus this weekend in Providence. The city is hosting the 146-year-old institution’s final New England performances, just days ahead of the grand denouement in New York on May 21.

John Bender / RIPR

Eight acrobats, seriously injured during a circus accident in Providence, are now suing the Rhode Island Convention Center and the arena’s management company. The acrobats sustained injuries during a performance in 2014.

As the acrobats dangled from a steel truss some 20 feet in the air, a carabiner snapped, sending them hurtling to the ground. Eight female performers were injured, some had to learn how to walk again and several will never return to their former profession, according to a lawsuit filed this week in Providence.

John Bender / RIPR

Performing elephants, a staple of the circus for decades, will no longer be part of the big-top event. The elephants' final performances were Sunday in Providence. The circus announced it would phase out elephant performances as the public voiced more and more opposition to the practice.

John Bender / RIPR FILE

The Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus opens in Providence Thursday nearly a year after a tragic accident injured nine performers.  Some of the acrobats are still recovering from their injuries.

Last May, during a performance in Providence, a group of eight acrobats hung by their hair some 35 feet above the stage floor. They were sent plunging to the ground when a clamp that was part of their equipment failed.  The performers and one person on the ground suffered fractured legs, wrists, even necks.

Injured Circus Performers Plan To File Lawsuit

Jun 18, 2014
John Bender / RIPR

Four of the eight acrobats injured in a hair-hanging circus accident are filing a lawsuit.  They’re all still dealing with injuries and some may never walk again.

Will They Walk Again? Injured Acrobats Face Long Rehab

May 7, 2014
Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Homemade cards and flowers are pouring in to Rhode Island Hospital for the seven injured circus acrobats who remain hospitalized there. That’s buoyed the performers’ spirits, four of whom are still in serious condition.