The circus, which closed and filed for bankruptcy last year, was sold for $1.3 million and will reopen in time for its 40th anniversary.
BY JOSHUA BARONE /
The Big Apple Circus, which shut down and filed for bankruptcy last year, is coming back — and just in time for its 40th anniversary.
On Tuesday, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York approved a decision by the circus’s board to accept a $1.3 million auction bid from Big Top Works, an affiliate of the corporate-restructuring firm Compass Partners.
Immediately, the Big Apple Circus announced that it would return this fall for the 2017-18 season, which would coincide with the 40th anniversary of the circus’s first performance in 1977.
Details of the coming season — including whether the Big Apple Circus would return to Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center, where it has held its shows since the 1980s — will be announced this spring.
The Big Apple Circus has not had any public performance since it closed last summer. In June, the circus announced an emergency fund-raising drive with a goal of $2 million. Despite pleas to donors and a crowdfunding campaign, the drive fell far short of that number, with a total of $900,000. The circus filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November.
Big Top Works’ bid was made at a live auction on Feb. 7, at the New York offices of Debevoise & Plimpton, the law firm that provided pro bono service for the circus’s bankruptcy case.
The court-ordered auction stipulated that the winning bidder would need to maintain the Big Apple Circus’s mission and vision, including special performances for children with autism or disabilities. Those will continue under Big Top Works’ ownership.
Read more at the New York Times: Big Apple Circus, Sold to the Highest Bidder, Will Return This Fall – The New York Times