A CHRISTCHURCH clown will run away to the circus this weekend as he realises a childhood dream.

Paul Carpenter is the director of Circus Wonderland, which will be taking place at Canford Magna Garden Centre over Easter weekend.

For Paul, this is the culmination of two years of hard work and planning and the start of a new life on the road.

It was Paul’s dream since his father took him to a circus at the age of four to become a clown in a circus.

He said: “Even at such a young age I was captivated by the idea that an amazing show could be here and then gone tomorrow leaving nothing but a circle of faded grass.”

He turned his attention to acting, taking classes at the Regent Centre and the Jellicoe Theatre in Poole as well as spending four summers appearing in the Balloon Theatre at Barrack Road Recreation Ground.

After working for years as an actor, Paul became friends with a circus clown visiting Christchurch, eventually teaming up to form a double act.

For the last 10 years, he has appeared as Popol, the UK’s last remaining traditional whiteface clown, along with Kakehole, who is a typical Auguste clown with his red nose and big boots.

The duo now face their biggest challenge as they launch Circus Wonderland, along with Peter and Grace Arnett from Portsmouth.

Paul added: “Not many people can say that they are truly living their dream.

“But to run my own show is literally a dream come true for me.

“The circus is not an easy life, and the romance is nothing like the reality when you are up all night when the tent is blowing down or you are pulling lorries out of the mud.

“They say, however, that when the sawdust gets in to your veins you can never give it up.”

Circus Wonderland will include acrobats, trapeze artists and a lady who stands without flinching as her husband fires arrows towards her.

The circus rolled into town yesterday and stays until Monday, with performances at 2pm and 5pm daily, except for Easter Monday, which is 2pm only.

Contact the box office on 07531 612240.

Joining the show

WALKING up to the huge red and yellow big top I was greeted by a tall and very sparkly clown, who seemed smiley despite informing me: “I am the serious one in the act”.

I was apprehensive, but before I knew it, he had me laughing and wearing a silly hat and the classic big red nose.

After telling him there was no way on Earth I’d be able to do any juggling, he emerged from the tent with a handful of plates and sticks and with a bit of help, had me spinning them with ease.

Kim Clarkson