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Send in the clowns: Fossett's Circus is getting back on the road

The ring mistress for Fossett's Circus says the pandemic was the first time, in over 130 years, t...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

13.57 27 Sep 2021


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Send in the clowns: Fossett's...

Send in the clowns: Fossett's Circus is getting back on the road

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

13.57 27 Sep 2021


Share this article


The ring mistress for Fossett's Circus says the pandemic was the first time, in over 130 years, they had to stop touring.

However, Ireland's circus community is slowly getting back to normal.

Henry McKean caught up with Fossett's Circus in Kilkenny for Newstalk Breakfast.

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Ring mistress Marion Fossett says when the opportunity came they took it.

"We have been in the business of the circus, we have toured Ireland for 133 years - and the first thing that put us off the road was COVID.

"It was very difficult during the lockdown; we survived two World Wars, a Rising and a Civil War and nothing stopped us.

"COVID came and closed us down - all circuses, all fun fairs, just closed us down dead.

"But luckily enough this year... Minister Catherine Martin came up with a Live Performance Support Scheme to try and help get light entertainment back up and running.

"Let's be honest - we all need a little bit of cheer."

'The most difficult'

The company was recently able to do a short, 10-week tour across Ireland.

Marion says: "It has just been wonderful to be back - the restrictions, of course, were 50 people at the beginning of our tour.

"That was the most difficult I think, to perform to 50 people.

"But we're very serious about the social distancing and the COVID protocols to make it safe for everybody to come.

"The warmth and welcome from the people when we came back to the towns that we visited.

"For the coast run, we've actually done exactly the same towns at nearly exactly the same time for 85 years.

"Like a calendar, you could set it."

And she says there is an onus on them to keep the show going.

"My mother was 90 this year, and my mother spent her entire life on the road touring with circuses.

"She came to Ireland in 1952, met my father and married him and never left.

"So her whole life has been touring, she found the lockdown extremely difficult and I was extremely worried about her.

"So one of the reasons, when the opportunity of the grant came up, I particularly said 'Let's do it to get her back out on the road'.

"And the transformation on her has been wonderful.

"Don't forget you have the responsibilities of all your forefathers... we're into six generations.

"They survived everything and the did it and kept it going.

"So that sits on your shoulder to make sure that you do the same and you keep it going.

"It has to get better and bigger, and that's what you strive towards doing".

Edward Fossett - a fifth generation performer, and also known as Otto the Clown - says people are enjoying it.

"Everybody needs a little bit of happiness in their life.

"It's been difficult to make people laugh, but they're coming and they're laughing, they're enjoying the show.

"That's what we're trying to do".

Send in the clowns: Fossett's Circus is getting back on the road

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

   

Main image: Picture by: Facebook/Fossett's Circus

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Clowns Edward Fossett Fossetts Circus Henry McKean Live Performance Support Scheme Marion Fossett Newstalk Breakfast Pandemic

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