Skip to main content

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will shut down in May 2017

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will shut down in May 2017


The closure comes following the removal of the act’s elephants

Share this story

Ringling Bros. Presents Out Of This World / North American Debut 'Simet Astronaut Wheel' Performance At The Columbia Memorial Space Center
Photo by Ari Perilstein/Getty Images for Feld Entertainment

A year after it announced that it would no longer use elephants in its performances, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will hold its final performances in May of this year.

The cirus’s parent company, Feld Entertainment Inc., revealed that it would hold its final shows in at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, in Rhode Island on May 7th, and at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, on May 21st, 2017. According to the company, the removal of the elephants from the act contributed to a decline in ticket sales, which, along with high operating costs, “the circus an unsustainable business for the company.”

following the removal of the elephants, revenue from ticket sales declined

In 2015, the company announced that its remaining elephants would be retired to Ringling's Center for Elephant Conservation by 2018, but retired the animals ahead of schedule last year.

The move to retire the animals was due to a complicated patchwork of laws enacted by local governments to protect elephants and other exotic animals, as well as growing outcry over the treatment of performing animals. While the treatment of the elephants was widely protested, they were a major attraction for the performance, and their removal contributed to “a decline in ticket sales greater than could have been anticipated.”

The end of the act will allow Feld Entertainment to focus on its other traveling performance productions, such as Marvel Universe LIVE! and Disney on Ice, as well as a recently announced live Sesame Street production coming later this year.