Ireland's clown shortage solved as Duffy's Circus set to hit the road again
It's shaping up to be an in-tents experience...
Tom Duffy's circus will be hitting the road again this winter following a national clown shortage that gripped the nation this year.
The big-top will be making its way around Leinster this week, starting with a series of performances in Dundalk this Wednesday (10 November).
The circus will stop in Ashbourne for a week, and will then take up residency at Tallaght Stadium between 9 December and 9 January.
Speaking with PA, ringmaster David Duffy spoke about how the Covid pandemic had affected the business, and concerns that it could have been lost forever.
After 19 months not performing, @duffyscircus is back on the road
The 150 year old family business is taking a step into the unknown by staging winter shows for the first time in a bid to recoup pandemic losses@PA vid package by @niallcarsonpa & @EKeep pic.twitter.com/rNcbXPhJ1f
— David Young (@DavidYoungPA) November 8, 2021
"We came very close to actually disappearing. The biggest worry was that for the first 15 or 16 months, we were getting no support", he explained.
"We were banging on doors, we were talking to politicians, doing Zoom meetings, and because we were a mobile circus, because we weren't working from a rateable premises, we were excluded from the likes of the CRSS (Covid Restrictions Support Scheme), so we were falling into all the cracks."
This is the family business' first foray into running a circus during the winter months.
"This is all unknown. These are unknown waters for us because we don't know what the business will be like at this time of year because we've never done it before", said Duffy.
Duffy's circus underwent a major recruitment drive in the past few weeks to find electricians, HGV drivers, mechanics, circus operators, and most importantly, clowns.
Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster's Good Morning Ulster, Duffy provided context for the lack of clownery in the country.
"Now, because all of the circuses in Europe and in England have been up and operational for the last six months, well then that huge pool of EU artists are now already back at work. Up to the last week, we haven't been able to even get visas issued for non-EU artists and entertainers."
Fortunately for circus lovers, the clowns have been sent in.