LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, BOYS AND GIRLS... welcome to the big top blog of Douglas McPherson, author of CIRCUS MANIA, the book described by Gerry Cottle as "A passionate and up-to-date look at the circus and its people."

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Clown Gathering and Clown Extravaganza

If you go down to the sea this month, you're in for a big surprise... in fact you better go in disguise... because this is the month that every clown that ever there was be meeting at a seaside hotel for a week of lectures, socialising, prattfalls and maybe even a custard pie fight. No, it's not a political party conference, but Clown Gathering UK.

As well as funny men and women from all over the UK, international clowns in attendance will include India's funniest clown, Flubber; Canada's Amanda O'Leary; and America's Lovely Buttons.

Flying the flag for Britain, meanwhile, will be Simon Thompson's Clown Noir (Second from left, above), Mattie the Clown and, from one of Britain's oldest circus families, Bobbo Roberts (Second from right, above).

The whole thing is organised by Andy The Clown (in the pale blue suit, third from right, above) and runs from February 22 - 26.

Now in its second year, the Clown Gathering is for clowns only - a chance for clowns to be clowns without the public's gaze; and who knows what they might get up to when it's all clowns together for their annual trip to the seaside?

Anyone with a fear of clowns should certainly avoid the Hatfield Hotel and its Shoreline Restaurant, on Lowestoft Esplanade, which is where the clowns will be staying.

But, of course, you can't be a clown without wanting to entertain and there will also be two evening shows for the public at the Seagull Theatre in Pakefield, Lowestoft, on Feb 24 and 25 titled A Clown Extravaganza that will be just that, with Fool Hardy Circus presenting an array of clowns from the gathering plus Tyrodial Field, billed as Britain's top diabolist. Tickets are just £5 from the box office: 01502 589726.

(Rumours that you might get a free pie in the interval are unconfirmed... but strongly suggested by the video in this ITV report on last year's gathering.)

According to the theatre, you'll never see such a gathering of clown talent in Britain or anywhere else in the world. You'd need to be a fool to join them, and a bigger fool to miss it!

Click here for my interview with Bobbo - Life of a Clown.

And here for the History of Scary Clowns.

For more on the history of clowns, the nature of clowning and interviews with some of Britain's funniest clowns, including Bippo and Cirque du Hilarious, read Circus Mania - The Ultimate Book for Anyone who Dreamed of Running Away with the Circus. Click here to read the reviews on Amazon.

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