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Showman can have a variety of meanings, usually by context and depending on the country.


Travelling showmen are people who run amusement and side show equipment at regional shows, state capital shows, events and festivals throughout Australia. In the past, the term has also been used for the people who organized freak shows, sideshows, circuses, travelling theatre troupes and boxing tents.

In Australia, there are around 500 travelling show families, Australian travelling show families in the Eastern states have a travelling School that has approximately 90 children.


Family names associated with funfairs in Ireland include Fox-McFadden, Cassells, Cullen, McFadden, Bird, Perks and Bell. Turbetts, Hudsons, McCormacks, McGurk, Wilmots and Grahams are associated with coastal amusements, particularly in the west of the country.[1]


"Showman" is a humoristic talkshow hosted by the Norwegian comedian and actor Håvard Lilleheie. The show currently runs on TV2 Zebra, and is produced by Monster Entertainment.


"Showman" ("şovmen" in Turkish) word refers to a talk show host in Turkey. This show can be performed individually (talking with public by telephone) in Turkish TV's.

Robert Edwards, a seventh generation British showman, running his Ring and Blocks stall

United Kingdom[edit]

In the United Kingdom, Funfair Travellers are families involved with funfairs and circuses. The Showmen's Guild of Great Britain is the most dominant trade association, with a membership of around 4,700 and a total collective of 25,000 Showman and women in the industry. The head of the family being the member [2] For example, the Guild co-organizes St Giles' Fair in Oxford with Oxford City Council each September alongside a number of other prestigious fair and events across the UK. A large amount of major events in the UK have a fairground element incorporated such as Winter Wonderland Hyde Park, Leeds Festival and Edinburghs Festive offering to name a few.

Whilst the Showmans Guild of Great Britain (SGGB) stands as the largest trade association there are other alternative smaller industry bodies such as the Association of Independent Showmen (AIS) and Society of Independent Roundabout Proprietors (SIRPS).

Due to travelling, the majority of British Showmen have English, Scottish, Welsh and even Irish heritage.

Most Showman’s Heritage goes back generations, with the first fairground attractions appearing in the late 19th-century. Almost all Showmen follow in the foot steps of their parents, Showmen know each other all over the UK due to the nature of the business Travelling from one fair to the next over generations.

The children often work alongside their parents, learning all aspects of the business. This practice has been ongoing for generations, and close bonds are consequently formed.

Most Showmen marriages happen within the community. Showmen have their own language and traditions, with current Showmen having ancestors in the profession. Showmen are viewed as and self identify as a cultural group. They are not recognised as an ethnic group though, due to Showmen being more of an occupation than an ethnicity. The group has drawn upon many other ethnicities and since many families are joining and leaving the group, it cannot be considered an ethnicity.

United States[edit]

Those of the Traveling carnival (termed Carnies) are the closest comparison or equivalent to Showmen in the United States but the term "Showman" also can include male dancers or performers in shows, usually alongside showgirls; an example would be Gene Kelly in the film Singin' in the Rain.

The term showman or show people, can also be meant as a superlative or complimentary term, sometimes as an accolade or quasi-title, such as in the documentary name Harry Saltzman: Showman.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Irish Arks and Waltzers Part 1 - 1990 to Present Day". The University of Sheffield – National Fairground Archive. Archived from the original on 2011-12-22. Retrieved 1 June 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Showmen's Guild of Great Britain Central Office.