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A CIRCUS is offering free ‘clown phobia’ courses after noticing some audience members ‘react with terror’ to the sight of the painted-faced entertainers.
John Lawson’s Circus has decided to offer any people with a fear of clowns the chance to overcome their phobia through the bizarre ‘clown celling’ sessions.
Offended entertainers Kakehole and Popol decided to take action following the negative reactions they were getting from some terrified viewers of the show.
They say that the public perception of clowns in the media, through films such as Stephen Kings ‘It’, the Joker in Batman and even cartoon characters ike ‘Krusty the Clown’ are to blame.
During the sessions people can meet the clown behind the scenes, go through the make-up process and eventually ‘find their inner’ clown and dress up themselves.
The circus’s ringmaster, Attila Endresz, said: “It’s surprising how many people seem to be frightened of clowns. Although you would always expect to see a clown at the circus, some people react with terror.
“I think the situation has been made worse by the media. There are many horror films such as Stephen King’s It, or even The Joker in Batman, that portray the clown in a sinister light, and have subsequently heightened the fear of the clown.
“Even Krusty The Clown in The Simpsons is portrayed as a bad tempered child-hater – and we want to show that not all clowns are like that.”
The fear of clowns – known as Coulrophobia – is not particularly rare and is believed to be the third most common phobia in Britain, behind spiders and needles.
But the clowns from John Lawson’s Circus – Kakehole and Popol – have said they hope the ‘therapy sessions’ they hold in Towcester, Northants, will help people conquer their fear.
Popol said: “It upsets us when audience members are scared of us. People aren’t scared of us when they get to know us, it’s just sometimes the initial sight of us that can be unnerving.
“I was quite impatient at first because people must expect to see clowns at a circus. But then I found out it was a genuine fear and we wanted to do something to tackle that.
“We have managed to help a couple of people through these sessions but some people still freak out at the sight of us and it hasn’t worked.”
Kakehole added: “We’ve developed some techniques to encourage people to overcome their fears.
“We gently introduce ourselves, explain the art of clowning, and perhaps even help the person to discover their own inner clown.”
The circus is touring the country until mid-June.