AMATEUR acrobats will be swinging 30ft above an East Oxford park this summer.

Florence Park's unused bowling green has been temporarily transformed into a flying trapeze school – and everyone is welcome.


Run by seasoned-performer James Long, High Fly Trapeze will be based in the park until September offering lessons for anyone aged eight or above brave enough to try the adrenaline-fuelled activity.

The circus favourite was invented in the 19th century and sees performers jump from a platform holding onto a metal bar attached to a long rope, often releasing the bar to be caught by another performer.

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Mr Long said he had loved the flying trapeze since he was a child but only made the passion his career four years ago. He explained: "I was a full time IT consultant for 10 years before I decided to 'run away and join the circus'. Flying trapeze was a hobby at first but there came a point when all I would do is be thinking about the trapeze."


He added after some 'serious soul searching' he decided to 'risk it all' by handing in his resignation and try to make it as a professional trapeze artist.

That was in spring 2015 and since then he has worked his way up from being a regular student to the manager at Gorilla Circus’ flying trapeze school in London.

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The acrobat has coached in the UK, Europe and America and performed as a catcher in professional shows in France and at the Formula 1 in Bahrain.

Bringing all that experience to Oxford, Mr Long said he was 'extremely proud' to have set up his own company and to open the city's first flying trapeze rig in Florence Park. A planning application for the temporary rig, which is just over 30ft high, was approved Oxford City Council last month.


Mr Long said he was hoping to appeal to as many people as possible, adding: "At High Fly our goal is to bring trapeze to a wider audience. We also want to bring trapeze to those less fortunate and help the community too.

"Each week we will soon be running two classes for free for groups who qualify for our outreach programme which I am currently developing."

He continued: "We will be looking to have youth groups, drug and alcohol rehab programs and mental health groups come and enjoy what we offer."


Anyone interested in finding out more can email or visit

Classes will be running classes until September 4. Each class lasts for two hours and costs £30 per person.