Northern Ireland facing unprecedented clown shortage

As COVID-19 re-openings have staggered across Europe, the clowning industry has suffered. The BBC spoke with David Duffy, co-owner of Duffy's Circus, and the sixth generation of Duffys to run the Irish circus family.

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a shortage of the performers, as many returned to their home countries when the first lockdown came into force in early 2020, according to David Duffy, co-owner of Duffy's Circus, who is appealing for people from Northern Ireland to become clowns.

Lockdown was hard for Mr Duffy and his circus has been closed for more than 500 days. It will soon be able to tour in Northern Ireland again, following changes Covid-19 restrictions. But performers have been able to get work in other countries that have opened up more quickly.

"Because all the circuses in Europe and in England have been up and operational for the past six months, that huge pool of EU artists are already back at work and up until last week we haven't been able to even get visas issued for non-EU artists and entertainers," Mr Duffy said.

"That's why we're trying to reach out for any of our folks at home who feel that they can give it a go."

At press time, the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland was not available for comment on this shortage of clowns.

Clown shortage: Appeal for new recruits in Northern Ireland [BBC]

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