- Severe post-COVID-19 clown shortage strikes Northern Ireland’s circus industry.
- Aspiring clowns will need to do more than just daub themselves in makeup and lob custard pies to fill the oversized shoes of their profession.
- Being a clown is having to be able to poke fun at yourself – it’s not about poking fun at other people.
Circuses will soon be touring Northern Ireland again once COVID-19 curbs are relaxed, but according to British news reports, they’re facing an acute shortage of clowns, with circus bosses desperately scrambling to find new performers.
Many of these performers either returned to their own countries at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, or have since gone abroad to look for work in countries that have already reopened.
With the visa process for non-EU clowns a complicated one, circus owners are trying to reach out for any folks at home who feel that they can give it a go.
Aspiring clowns will need to do more than just daub themselves in makeup and lob custard pies to fill the oversized shoes of their profession. According to one circus owner, when you go into the circus ring and you’ve got 700 to 800 people looking at you, no matter what sort of mood you’re in you have to light up that circus ring. You have to be able to read your audience, in a short couple of minutes you have to be able to get a rapport going with them and interact and feed off them.
While the jokes write themselves, the business of clowning is no laughing matter, industry professionals say: “Not everybody likes to be laughed at but for someone who is a clown, your worst nightmare would be to not be laughed at. “
“You have to be able to poke fun at yourself, it’s not about poking fun at other people.”