The Schedule for the Circus

“Creatures of Bliss and Mystery” A 19th Century Children’s Circus

Time: Saturday, July 18, 2015 1-4 p.m.
Emily Dickinson Museum lawn (in case of rain, most actitivities will take place indoor at First Congregational Church, across the street from the Museum at 165 Main Street)
Fee: $5 for families, EDM Members/Families FREE. Activity fees where noted below.

The Circus is coming to the museum grounds!  On Saturday, July 18, the Emily Dickinson Museum will present its annual “Creatures of Bliss and Mystery: A 19th-Century Children’s Circus,” from 1 to 4 pm on the Emily Dickinson Museum lawn. Especially perfect for children ages 3 to 10 (accompanied by adults), this event is open to the public and $5 for families and FREE for EDM Members.

Join Emily, the Fairy Queen from The Emily Dickinson Project for an Imaginary Tea Party and folksongs at 1:15 p.m. in the garden  At 2:15 p.m. be inspired by the words of young writers from the “Writing with Miss Emily” camp, a program for children at the Jones Library who will read from their recent works. At 3:00 p.m., join Tim Van Egmond for lively tales and songs near the great white oak tree!

Throughout the afternoon, visitors are invited to walk the “tightrope,” balance on stilts, and perfect their aim at ring toss. A face-painting booth will run through the afternoon for $3/person. Children can also fashion crowns to wear and flags to wave during the Parade Around the Grounds, which begins at 3:45 pm.

Guided visits to the poet’s bedroom will be offered throughout the afternoon (see schedule below). Especially appropriate for young children, the fifteen-minute tours introduce visitors to Emily Dickinson and her poetry in the room most associated with her and her work.  Tickets are required and will be available at the event welcome table on a first-come, first-served basis.  The cost per ticket is $1 (children must be accompanied by an adult).  In addition, the Museum will offer its regular schedule of guided tours from 10 am to 5 pm.


1:15 p.m. Imaginary Tea Party and Folksongs with Emily, the Fairy Queen from The Emily Dickinson Project
1:45 p.m. A Visit to Emily Dickinson’s Bedroom*
2:15 p.m. Poetry Readings from “Writing with Miss Emily” Campers
2:45 p.m. A Visit to Emily Dickinson’s Bedroom*
3:00 pm Tim Van Egmond Stories & Songs 
3:45 pm Parade Around the Grounds 
*Tickets required; fee of $1 per ticket.  Available from welcome table on first-first come, first-served basis.


Email edmprograms[at]  or  call 413-542-2034.

About the Performers

The Fairy Queen is played by Emily Taradash. Emily is thrilled to be returning to Amherst as a performer after completing her MFA in Costume Design from University of Massachusetts in 2014. Since then, Emily has worked as Associate Producer for the 9th Annual Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival, Wardrobe Assistant on “Circus in Winter” with the Goodspeed Opera Company and Guest Artist in Costume Design at Connecticut College.

A co-production of The Emily Dickinson Museum and TheatreTruck, The Emily Dickinson Project takes place in the poet’s home, tracing moments of her life through a journey from room to room. In this production, multiple “Variations” of Dickinson are offered, each character highlighting an aspect of the unique voice that makes up the single persona of the poet. The production runs from Wednesday-Sunday evenings from July 15-August 2, 2015. For more information about TheatreTruck and The Emily Dickinson Project, visit their website.

Folksinger and storyteller Tim Van Egmond has been delighting audiences all over the country, weaving together tales and tunes. He performs on a variety of traditional instruments, including the hammered dulcimer, conga drum, guitar and limberjack (a dancing wooden rhythm puppet). His dynamic style makes stories come alive, and his gift for encouraging participation makes for high-spirited programs.

About the Event

The title of the Museum’s annual event, “Creatures of Bliss and Mystery,” comes from recollections of a home-grown circus produced by Emily Dickinson’s niece and nephews: “It never occurred to us that we were not creatures of bliss and mystery—that the Ringmaster was really Ned with trousers tucked into rubber boots, cracking his whip and making jokes with the clown, Will Mather in private life, stuffed out with a pillow, red spots painted on his face, —or that the performance was a bit less dazzling than the one we had seen the day before, —especially if Ned sang his circus song picked up from the real ring.”

Posted in Past Events and tagged .