Ivor David Balding
( b. Mar 03, 1939 New York, New York, USA - d. May 09, 2014 Weldon Spring, Missouri, USA ) Male
David Balding was a producer of Broadway and Off Broadway plays who may have been best known as a circus showman who acted as a parent to an elephant. He was born in Manhattan, a son of Ivor G. Balding and the former Frances Godwin. Before attending Harvard, he was a summer assistant to the actress Eva Le Gallienne at the Westport Country Playhouse in Connecticut and briefly worked for a circus in Paris.
Mr. Balding never graduated from Harvard, embarking instead on a career in theater. By 1963, he was in New York, having founded the Establishment Theater Company -- his partners included Joseph E. Levine and Peter Cook -- which produced, among other shows, The Ginger Man, an adaptation of J. P. Donleavy's novel starring Patrick O'Neal, and Scuba Duba, Bruce Jay Friedman's comedy about a cuckolded American in the South of France.
On Broadway, Mr. Balding was a producer of The Man in the Glass Booth, Robert Shaw's drama, directed by Harold Pinter, about a man who may or may not be a concentration camp survivor. It ran for more than 250 performances in 1968 and 1969.
Among his first shows was The Knack, an Off Broadway comedy by Ann Jellicoe about young men on the make, directed by a fresh new face, Mike Nichols, who had just had his first Broadway hit, Barefoot in the Park.
In the 1970s, Mr. Balding returned to Europe, where, working for CBS, he created and was a co-producer of the Circus World Championships, an Olympic-style competition for circus performers. He later worked as a producer for the Big Apple Circus in New York and eventually moved to a farm in South Carolina that his father had bought. There he hatched plans for his circus, which he started with three partners.
He and a handful of partners created Circus Flora, a family-friendly one-ring affair whose acts -- one was a big-little equine comedy team featuring a Clydesdale and a miniature horse -- were loosely stitched into a narrative and combined circus and theater techniques. Mr. Balding was the ringmaster.
Circus Flora made its debut at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, S.C., in 1986 and toured the United States until making a permanent home in 1988 in St. Louis.
Source: The New York Times obituary
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