Dr. Haze, the man behind The Circus of Horrors, passed away on the 15th April 2023 after a brave battle with oesophagus cancer, leaving behind a legacy of bizarre and daring entertainment. Dr. Haze was a master of many trades, including song writing, illusionist, visionary, singer, performer and a collector of bizarre human acts, which inspired this year’s production ‘Dr. Haze’s Cabaret of Curiosities’ – the ultimate tribute to the modern age ‘Greatest Showman’.

Dr. Haze was born in a circus but brought up in Preston, where he lived on Avenham Road. His family, performers themselves, travelled with the ‘Winship Circus’ to Scotland when he was a newborn. However, when he was just six months old, his lion-trainer father left the family to pursue his next adventure. Haze reconnected with his father when he was 12 years old and moved to join him for a more settled life in London, then began his journey as a fire-eating act in a new circus in Ireland.

Dr. Haze never forgot his Lancashire roots – regularly visiting his old school friends and passionately supporting his beloved Preston North End, watching them play whenever he could. He even asked for his ashes to be scattered at Deepdale Stadium, the home of PNE. Appropriately, this took place on 31st October, Halloween 2023, and we are certain that with Dr. Haze at the goal, Preston North End is sure to win every game.

At 16, Haze learned to play the guitar and started writing music influenced by rock and roll and his idol, Marc Bolan of T Rex fame. The 1970s were a time of incredible rock bands like Slide, The Rolling Stones and Alice Cooper. Haze fed off the sales and appetite for records in that period and was inspired by Bolan’s swagger, song writing talent and dream of being a world rockstar. He was also drawn to the punk scene and the rise of horror in cinema, with films like The Exorcist. To all of this, Haze added his unique sense of humour in everything he did.

Haze formed his first band ‘Flash Harry’ in the late 70s, bringing rock theatre to small venues, often appearing out of a coffin at the start of the show and ending it with spectacular fireball blow outs to amazed pub audiences. Then, during the 1980s and 1990s, Haze performed with his band ‘Haze vs The X factor’ and incorporated elements of circus and horror into their performances for dramatic effect. They played The Marquee club in London and Haze created the title ‘Circus of Horrors’ for one of their acts. It wasn’t until 1995 that he returned to his circus travelling roots with a new troupe under this new wave of circus production.

A tragic twist of fate Brough him back to Lancashire in December 1994. His godson died in a circus accident at Blackpool Tower Circus. This is when renowned circus owner, Gerry Cottle, a close friend of the family, met Haze and discussed ideas for a new brand of circus. Along with Circus Archaos’ creator Pierrot Bidon, The Circus of Horrors was born, debuting at Glastonbury Festival in the summer of 1995.

Despite sceptics who predicted that The Circus of Horrors would not last, the show continued to reinvent itself and discover new performers worldwide for over two decades. Dr. Haze scoured the planet for unusual people who could do extraordinary things, including the man with the stretchiest skin in the world, one of the smallest men in the world, and no less than seven sword swallowers.

Dr. Haze’s Circus of Horrors was a unique blend of circus, cabaret and horror, featuring performers who amazed and shocked audiences with their death-defying stunts and macabre acts. The show included fire-eaters, sword-swallowers, contortionists, acrobats and other performers who pushed the boundaries of acceptable entertainment, truly bringing the extreme to the mainstream.

Dr. Haze and his business partner Patrick, who runs Psycho Management, also handled publicity for several touring circus productions, bands, extreme motorsport events and monster truck shows, as well as Carter’s Steam Fair. Together with his business partner Anthony Anderson, Haze formed the European Entertainment Corporation and this company remains to date to be a leader in the circus entertainment industry in Europe and for many years has produced and toured groundbreaking productions – and in more recent times, Continental Circus Berlin, Circus Ukraine and the world-famous┬áCircus Extreme.

Haze worked tirelessly to create new acts and improve The Circus of Horrors, and his efforts paid off with a loyal following of fans who appreciated his unique vision. Dr. Haze will be remembered as a pioneer through The Circus of Horrors and the many performers he touched.

Doktor Haze left us on the 13th World Circus Day in 2023 – a fitting tribute to an amazing character and showman.

1956 – 2023