Mar 6, 2009

Acrobats Stranded in Ukraine!

That's right, the worst has happened: there's a clown shortage in Britain.

According to YahooNews, in November, the British Home Office introduced a points-based system to crack down on illegal immigration and create what its web site describes as "a significantly more straightforward and transparent structure." It's easy enough for foreign trapeze artists and acrobats to secure the requisite points for entry into Britain based on their unique skills. But ringmasters say that various problems with the new system - including faulty computer software and poorly trained embassy staff - are preventing international talent from reaching Britain's big tops. Says owner of the Great British Circus Martin Lacey:

My season started in February and I've got comedy acrobats stranded in the Ukraine, and Mongolian horse riders who were refused their visas in Ulan Batur.

According to Malcolm Clay, secretary of the Association of Circus Proprietors of Great Britain, British circus schools don't produce artists at an acceptable standard, largely because their students refine skills like tightrope walking or fire-breathing as a hobby, not as part of a life-long career. As a result, British circuses rely on artists from countries with long-established histories of state-sponsored circus schools.

No comments: