A CIRCUS act not seen for more than 20 years will be performed in a North-East Big Top tonight.

The Human Rocket will be fired from a live cannon at 60 miles per hour during the Cottle and Austen show, which will premiere in Middlesbrough.

A cast of more than 30 artists and musicians will entertain on Clairville Common, near Albert Park, alongside Diego Zeman, The Human Rocket, and world hula hoop record breaker Yank Rodionova.

Miss Rodionova was hit in the head by a knife live on ITV's This Morning show by knife throwing record breaker Jayde Hanson. A year later, she went on to marry the man who threw the knife.

Former human cannonball Tod Christian was fired from his job because of his fear of flying and his position was taken by South American Mr Zeman.

Mr Zeman had to return to his homeland for astronaut training at Guiana Space Centre for his body to accept the G-Force it will receive when he is fired from the cannon.

More than 300 gallons of water will be thrown around the heated big top by slapstick clowns and the show's new Latin American theme will be backed by singers, dancers and musicians.

Performances will be at 5pm and 7.45pm until Friday and two shows will go ahead at 2pm and 5pm on Saturday and Sunday.

For tickets call the Box Office on (07030) 170170.