In November 2022, the Connecting Communities and Theatre Royal Plymouth teams met with a group from Funky Lama and Our Space to formulate a Connecting Communities programme. In this meeting we talked about the themes that exist in Waldo’s Circus of Magic and Terror. The group wanted the focus to be on stories of hope, whilst also acknowledging the risk, the secrets and the masks that people had to wear.
Clair Sargeant, Co-Director, Far Flung Dance Theatre C.I.C wrote a piece about the Connecting Communities Creative Outcomes below – thank you Clair!
Far Flung Dance Theatre C.I.C are creatively working with Funky Llama and Extraordinary Bodies on the Connecting Communities Project, this is our second project with Connecting Communities and it has been a privilege to be invited again. For this next project we have been honored to work with Funky Llama and Our Space community members again to co create a digital exhibition exploring our very own clown characters inspired by ‘Waldos Circus of Magic and Terror.
“Over 5 sessions we delivered a series of workshops that explored clowning, circus history, costume design and clown makeup to create clown characters that explored a combination of fact and fictional traits. This was an alter ego like character or an exaggerated version of oneself. We worked with guest artist Fran Daykin to creatively support the group to make collars, roughs, hats, bow ties and props for the photoshoot out of materials from a local scrap store. Alongside these creations, the group created their own Clown C.V to accompany the image and help delve into their character further.”
The story also asks the question ‘is one life of more value than another?’ And challenges us to ‘never underestimate what people are capable of’. The group felt that this was a prompt to all communities to really show what they are capable of, and this work does just that.
Photographer Dom Moore worked with the group in the final session and created a series of beautiful portraits, giving each person will have a ‘mug shot’ photo and a second image that shows their clown personality, which you can see in the exhibition below!
The group also created a poem called ‘The Circus of Life’ out of a collection of words relating to magic, circus and memories which you can read below:
Up tent to london. The big top is here. Roll up, Roll up, Come see the lights appear. A curiosity under the night sky. The ringmaster laughs, sneaking a look at the audience through the curtain. It's time. Kids eat ice creams, A fan fare. A drum roll. The Stripey tent has all the fun fit for kings and queens. See it all! Fire eater! Heavy lifter! A kids curiosity and an octopus queue, “Family ticket please” dad fumbles, notes crumpled. In the distance, lions rumble, Clowns tumble. Lamps dampen, the darkness certain, The crowds gossip, an audible curtain, A single beam, shadows fling. A ring master struts into the ring. His moustache curls a grin, What will the top hat bring? In this tent we tell our story, Of wonder, amusement, greatness, glory. We parade our talents for you to see, How incredible humankind can be. But this next number will take some beating, It’s society-cheating, gravity-defeating, At the edge of your seating. I see the woman singing, Flying through the air. The clown is funny, see this show of joy and despair. See the aerialist in oscillation. And the weird ventriloquist. Platypus the clown throwing buckets of water and confetti, We’ve got balloons and popcorn a’plenty, Skirting around the sawdust floor, Zebras and llamas galore. The fire eater is a monster. The clown car blows bubbles from its engine. Balloon sausage dogs bark. The talking elephant dances disco in the dark… defying gravity…. Flying marsupials, calm and unaware, That they are the stars of the evening, tumbling in the air. The last one is caught, and then starts the cheering. All are up rising, loud hoots, stomping boots and clapping of hands. This is the best show in the land. But after the last clap has been clapped, And all the tricks are back in their sacks, The circus troop group bow and leave. The fan fare was over. But the circus never stops… Down tent in London… Up tent to Plymouth, Roll up, Roll up, Come see the lights, All waiting in anticipation, The crowd cheers hooray, It's time for a Cabaret…..
Artists working on the project include:
Lead Artists: Sarah Farrow-Jones, Clair Sargeant
Assistant: Ed Larkin
Unexpected Leader: Charlotte Evans
Assistant Theatre Royal Practitioners: previous Unexpected Leaders Bernadette Molton and Ferri Feredouni.
Props/Costume Design: Fran Daykin.
Performer and mentor: Charlotte Eaton