A Big Top For All

By AP Connolly

The word omnium means of all and belonging to all, a perfect name for what is the best circus in town. Omnium Circus presents the best in family circus entertainment—inclusive of all and accessible at every performance.

The world premier of Omnium Circus is a most incredible combination of great circus arts.Opening in Tysons Corner (near Washington, D.C.) on November 18th, in partnership with Lerner Enterprises, the new, non-profit circus company emerges from the negative impact of systemic racism, exclusion, multi-generational socio-economic division, and the effect of a global pandemic. An opportunity for a collaborative effort among a multitude of talented and experienced professionals of all demographics and abilities arose to create a new circus, one that has diversity and inclusivity as the foundation of a great circus.

The inaugural season began on December 12, 2020, with a virtual showcase, and partnering with Disability Unite (NYC) to present the circus using their unique streaming platform technology. This provides each viewer with a menu of access choices (ASL, Plain Language, Captioning, Audio Description, Spanish). Full access, every day, every show. Circus Omnium was an immediate success. The New York Times called us “Genuinely Extraordinary.”

The impact increased exponentially having reached over 30,000 people in 16 states and seven countries. They have served 45+ schools and community groups; 3000+ students of whom 270+ are blind/low vision; 480+ are deaf/hard of hearing; 500+ are neurodiverse, including Autism, and 1550+ classify as general education.

Omnium proudly enters the world as a full live big top production! All the multi-sensory chills, thrills, and excitement under a climate-controlled big top! There are very few touring shows in this country right now, and Omnium is leading the family entertainment industry in a global movement toward the complete inclusion of races, ethnicities, and abilities.

The big top, seating 1645 people, provides ample space to unite communities of audiences and performers to celebrate the birth of an all-new type of circus. One which genuinely embodies global inclusion and complete access for all audiences—bringing families and communities together to share the joyful exhilarating experience of a live circus production.

Founder Lisa B. Lewis formed Omnium; the real faces behind the statistics motivated her to change the way we enjoy family entertainment. For example, 1 in 4 people in our country has a disability. That means, in every family, someone is left behind, families are divided. Lewis envisioned a world where everyone had access to every show and where every audience member could identify with the performers.

Omnium is pioneering a new concept in audience accommodation. Every performance includes ASL, Audio Description, and enhancing audio headsets. Often, families with members who are neurodiverse feel awkward about attending public performances. Omnium has designated a “relaxed seating area,” a judgement-free zone where each family is provided additional space within which to express their joy freely. It is positioned near the chill zone—a reduced sensory area where those who become overstimulated can refocus

Disabled people are almost twice as likely to be unemployed as non-disabled people. The opportunity to create meaningful jobs in a previously not as welcoming sector. Some 26 percent of Omnium staff is among the disability community. Omnium is creating apprenticeships for those who have the desire and the aptitude and seek the opportunity to learn and become vital members of this incredible force of family entertainment

Lewis and her team hope to change the face of family entertainment by leading with a stellar example. So why not join Omnium as an audience member, supporter, partner, and fan. All who love the circus are welcome here!

For more information on Omnium Circus,