Skegness’ favourite clown Mr Fips says he did a lot of soul searching before finally deciding that running a circus was the life for him.
Born into a circus family David Fips said: “Some have gone off and got into the marquee hiring business for big events and I did go through a stage when I was questioning what I was doing with my life.
“But my uncle said ‘you are making people smile’ and in this day and age that is important. So here we are, back in Skegness for the sixth season and really looking forward to it.”
Mr Fips Wonder Circus opened last Tuesday night at its site on the A158 opposite Southview Leisure Centre.
It has now taken up residence in Burgh Road until September – the longest stay it has at any of its venues.
Special guests at the show included Mayor of Skegness Coun Danny Brookes, who was raising money for his chosen charities the RNLI and Alzeimers Research UK, Skegness Town Crier Steve O’Dare, the Jolly Fisherman, Carnival Queen, Ellie Mitchell, Carnival Princess Kimberley Ellis and Rosebud Alycia Dickinson. The show features a traditional mix of slapstick, trapeze acts and music – and although the audience will not see acts such as lion taming, horses are still very much in the spotlight.
Mr Fips said: “Next year is the 250th anniversary of Philip Astley, an English equestrian and circus owner who came up with the idea of a ring and is regarded as being the father of the modern circus.
“Our horses are part of the family and it wouldn’t be the same without them.
“If you took horses out of a circus it would be like taking the very soul out of it.”
Acts in the Wonder Circus are very much a family affair. Mr Fips said: “Mr wife Caroline Roberts is in charge of the horses, our daughter Lola presents the Shetland ponies, my father Carl Brenner at 78 is the oldest performing slapstick clown in the country and my mum Jane Brenner is a ex-trapeze artist who now runs the box office.
“But we all sit down and plan the show. We try to put the romance back and create atmosphere.”
This year a feature in the show which is thrilling the children is the only transforming robot car in Europe.
However, the show isn’t just for children. Mr Fips said: “We want everyone – mum, dad, and the kids – to go home smiling.”