Life Beyond the Big Top is a photo book that captures the history of the Tai Thean Kew Circus, a once-great Chinese circus established in Singapore in 1929. The collection of old photographs and surviving props and costumes that makes up this visual documentation belongs to Sze Ling Fen and Wong Fu Qi, lead performers of the circus. Sze Ling Fen’s progenitors founded the circus, and through her eyes we get a glimpse of an almost five-decade-long performing career.
Authored by their granddaughter, Adele Wong, be invited to visit her grandparents, listening and looking as the story about the humble beginnings of a pioneering, family-run Chinese circus unfolds. Be transported to a front-row seat, viewing the dazzling circus acts and astounding animals at the peak of the circus success, before running offstage to join the circus folks in their nomadic lives and private adventures as they travel around the region. Discover the evolution of live performance shows after the end of the circus as these performers adapt their skills to changing demands. Finally, reminisce as we return to their present-day retirement and rummage through their collection of old performing items and costumes.