Plenty of clowning around as entertainers return to Lowestoft for convention

Lowestoft 2016 clown conventionPHOTO: Nick Butcher

Lowestoft 2016 clown conventionPHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

They may look a bit silly, but these colourful clowns were aiming to show that they mean business as they returned to the east coast for all the fun and games of another clown convention.

Lowestoft 2016 clown conventionPHOTO: Nick Butcher

Lowestoft 2016 clown conventionPHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

After the success of the first-ever Clown Gathering UK conference in Lowestoft last year, funny-looking characters from across the globe were eager to return to the seaside resort with their over-sized clothes, curly wigs and bright red noses.

Amused onlookers watched as the performers made quite an entrance in costume and posed for photos along the town's promenade, with one clown reassuring those slightly taken aback at the spectacle: 'Just because we look silly doesn't mean we are.'

Behind all the hooting of horns and spraying of water cannons is a serious purpose to the week-long event, which is to give the entertainers - who often work alone - a chance to meet other clowns and swap notes about the best magic routines, performance tricks and where to get the whackiest shoes.

Lowestoft-based Andrew Davis - perhaps better known as Andy the Clown - said: 'The whole idea of the week is clowning for clowns.

'We tend to work on our own or in small groups and we don't see each other. Here we get the chance to swap ideas and network.'

The convention kicked off at Lowestoft's Hatfield Hotel with a light-hearted talk by Ian Thom - aka Gingernutts - on different clowning items, followed by Ian Williams' talk on how to make a bespoke clown nose. Today's schedule includes a talk from Bobbo Roberts on circus routines and a chance for clowns to sell or exchange props in the evening if they no longer have a use for that over-sized coat hangar or unusual coloured hat.

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The clowns, who will put on public shows at the Seagull Theatre on Wednesday and Thursday at 7pm, were greeted with a positive if surprised reaction from the public.

Carolina Santos, 18, marketing apprentice at the Hatfield Hotel, said: 'The horror movies made me really scared of them, but these ones are quite all right. I think they're quite friendly.' And 67-year-old Mariam Bagge, of Westwood Avenue, Lowestoft, said: 'I just think they're quite funny - they're quite clever and witty really.'

What do you think of the nation's clowns? Email andrew.papworth@archant.co.uk

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