There’s A Clown Shortage in Northern Ireland

Aspiring clowns will be performing a short piece during online auditions.

Credit: BBC

“There’s a lot more to being a clown than just putting on a big red nose and a big baggy pair of pants,” said David Duffy, co-owner of Duffy’s Circus. Duffy is currently urging people from Northern Ireland to become clowns.

I mean, this may make you laugh but then again that’s what their job entails.

The COVID-19 pandemic is one of the main factors as to why there’s a shortage of the performers in the first place. It’s because many have apparently returned to their home countries when the first lockdown came into force in early 2020, according to Duffy in a BBC interview.

So, what makes a good clown, you ask?

“Someone who’s willing to make themselves vulnerable,” said Noeleen Fries Neumann, known professionally as Silly Tilly. “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.”

Credit: BBC

“Because all the circuses in Europe and in England have been up and operational for the past six months, that huge pool of EU artists are already back at work and up until last week we haven’t been able to even get visas issued for non-EU artists and entertainers,” said Duffy. “That’s why we’re trying to reach out for any of our folks at home who feel that they can give it a go.”

“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,” he said. “A clown actually can be the loneliest place because you’re in there on your own and 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.”

Well, there ya go, Bozo. Do you have what it takes? Aspiring clowns will be asked to perform a short piece during online auditions soon at duffyscircus.com.

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Matt Sterner

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