Plenty of clowning around in Lowestoft as entertainers gather for Europe-wide convention

Andy the Clown and Gemaisy

Andy the Clown and Gemaisy - Credit: Archant

There is sure to be plenty of clowning around in Lowestoft this week as performers from across Europe assemble for the UK Clown Gathering Convention.

Attendees will have the chance to 'rub noses' with fellow performers and learn what it is like to 'step in the shoes' of their audience perceptions. It is the debut year of the convention which has been described by organisers as 'clowning for clowns'.

Top acts from Scotland, Blackpool, France and even Belgium will congregate at the Hatfield Hotel in Lowestoft throughout the week, with two variety shows pencilled in for Wednesday and Thursday evening at the Seagull Theatre.

The event comes at a time where the number of clowns that are members of Clowns International (CI), the country's sole organisation for the performers, has dropped.

Throughout the years, the image of the traditional clown has changed from a more doll-like image in the 1970s to keeping some of the more conventional human features today. This is in part due to the different perceptions and sense of humour that children now have, but also the negative image portrayal in 1990 horror films such as It or the dysfunctional character called Krusty the Clown, from TV show the Simpsons.

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There is also a lot made of the fact that people are frightened of clowns, or to say they suffer from coulrophobia – fear of clowns.

But organiser, Andy the Clown has emphasised how this is not an issue for him, having performed locally for over 15 years.

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'People are scared of dogs and I myself am scared of spiders. If I see one I move away from one. My daughter doesn't go near dogs, because she is scared of them.

'It is the same with clowns; some people are scared of clowns. Clowns as a whole are bright enough and intelligent enough to keep away from people who have the phobia.

'It doesn't affect us and I am busier and busier every year.'

Read more in tomorrow's EDP.

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