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'It's dangerous' - Anger after festival act depicts suicide

PUBLISHED: 12:30 18 September 2019 | UPDATED: 13:11 18 September 2019

The performance by the Tony Clifton circus 'shocked' some audience members. Photo: @Seachangearts on Instagram

The performance by the Tony Clifton circus 'shocked' some audience members. Photo: @Seachangearts on Instagram

Archant

People have complained about an "insensitive" and "shocking" festival act which appeared to show people taking their own lives.

A spectator and a worker at the Out There Festival in Great Yarmouth criticised festival organisers for showing a "distressing" artistic portrayal of people dying by carbon monoxide poisoning.

Mark Andrews, 50, was attending the festival when around 3.45pm on Sunday, September 15, a minivan with between three and six people pulled into the market as part of the Das Kapital performance by the Tony Clifton circus.

Mr Andrews said it was clear to him that the group was depicting a suicide method, adding: "All of a sudden these 12-15ft high white ghosts come out springing up out the back of the van. It shocked me. I couldn't believe it. I was sick."

Mr Andrews said he was "not usually one to complain", but he had experienced the devastating impact of suicide.

"My father-in-law committed suicide and my wife ended up doing the same as a result," he said. "It's distressing, it reminded me of that.

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"The suicide rate for males in this country has also gone through the roof - I complained to someone at the festival and they said I didn't get the message behind it. What message is that, showing someone how to commit suicide?"

Giedre Zaicine, who was working as a feedback collector at the festival, said the display made her quit her job on the spot.

She said: "I'm still struggling to understand why they showed this. It's dangerous, there were children watching and one woman ran away. This festival must be changed or stopped."

A spokesperson for SeaChange Arts, the festival organiser, said: "We've enjoyed a wealth of positive feedback regarding the festival programme. No complaints of significant distress caused by the shows performed have been reported to our management team."

Tony Clifton Circus was contacted for comment.

■ We have chosen not to include any more details, as it is not this paper's policy to publish anything that could be seen to encourage or inform a suicide attempt.

The free Samaritans helpline can be accessed by calling 116 123 from anywhere in the UK.

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