The Lost Carnival 2016.



Welcome one, welcome all, to the most incredible carnival of all time. But more than that, to a battle between two glorious carnivals, to see who will reign supreme forever more. Now that you have stepped inside our little world, expect an incredible story, circus performance that will take your breath away, dancing until your feet ache, and the most intriguing sideshows and characters.

But your role tonight, carnivalistas, is not just to stroll by and enjoy the entertainment. The fate of the carnival is in your hands. You will choose the victor this evening. So choose soon, and choose carefully. Are you team Bird or team Ingenue? Their very futures depend on your decision.

I lay awake in my den underneath this now so familiar oak tree. The summer light is sharp through the branches and I feel protected here, with my incredible Lost Carnival family. My finger nails dirty, eyes twitching with yesterdays daisies and feathers entwined in my plum dreads, the memory of fine glitter on my cheeks. I crawl out of my make shift home and collapse on the grass. The cold ground comforting my face opposing the sunlight caressing the back of my neck. I dig my fingers into the ground and the cold under my tips. My carnival family surround me.

The festival is coming to a close and the last barriers are stacked on one side. For a week now I’ve had next to no sleep, taking short naps when the sky starts to lighten and the stars disappear. I’m manically exhausted and so so happy.

I join my sisters under a willow tree in the shade with a breakfast of red bull and my last cigarette. Holly presents me with a willow crown and I kiss her face in return. She’s covered in last nights gold fairy dust and she is radiant. I dance for the sky in our field and my face aches from smiling. The two most immaculate ways of describing this crazy week must be having a cracking hangover from the mad hatters tea party, wondering what on earth happened or when James and the giant peach are no longer cartoon..

All the strange, eccentric and excited appeared to greet our travelling carnival in Crewe. I’ve been painfully happy. At one with the ground beneath my tired body and surrounded by artists, actors, acrobats, designers and all around magical energy. Here I belong with minimal packing and a head full of ideas and energy. My rings and fingers are covered in dried colours and eyes wide.

A few days ago I ran away to live under the trees with a gypsy Lost Carnival.

On the first evening after a long day, we have debriefing and head to finish painting the stage, we chant on and cheer the practicing whilst embracing the Summer dusk quickly approaching. The sun is bright pinks and bursts of orange settling over the park and we thrive in this alternative reality. The music loud and colourful smoke fills the stage. The actors dance, fight and be simply incredible under the lights. Strong men, clairvoyants, acrobats and new friends. I kiss and congratulate them on their perfect performance and jump thinking of the children’s reactions at their first live show tomorrow. Their little faces focused, completely immersed in the magic. I’m back and have never been so excited to be surrounded by familiar and new faces at the second Lost Carnival. We indulge in our private finale and choose our carnival battle winners.

In the days we paint, string bunting, dance and decorate. In the nights we rest, indulge in one anothers stories and fabulous company. One thing I particularly love about actors in this environment is their confidence and sense of play. It’s so much fun watching their practicing comments and different accents. I thrive from people like this.

I meet a man called Rimski, he plays a piano attached to a bike accompanied with Snowy his mechanical cat and taxidermy mice. I find myself in the company in gentleman whose ‘day job’ is a lighting lord, (as seen featured at Glastonbury’s Arcadia). In the nights he dances in the trees as an aerialist. One of the actors Nicola had met Nelson Mandala, backing sung for Lulu and Ray Charles and dated Gary Oldman. When the families arrived I spent my days telling fortunes from my magical bicycle and encouraging everyone to vote team Bird. I was far too excited by the end of each evening, screaming on the Bird family at the finale and jumping with pure joy when we won.

It’s particularly precious events like this that bring the most incredible souls together. I jump with childish excitement bumping into the couple running the ‘Tin Type Trailer’ again. After meeting them last year and seeing them again whilst organising the Haworth Steampunk Weekend I was overjoyed at the idea of potentially working on a Burlesque night in Manchester. Even writing about it makes my head race and ideas rush through me. When creative people come together, magic can be made.

You need to attend to understand the purity of the Lost Carnival experience. I will be back year after year to annual work, play and meet with my gypsy family. Thank you for an incredible start to my Summer for the second year running. GO TEAM BIRD.

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