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INTERVIEW: Tweedy on bringing his Massive Circus show to the RSC gardens, which fool he’d play on stage, and why he’s always full of beans

Tweedy’s Massive Circus romps into Stratford in May for ten madcap days; and before that you can see his Bottom onstage… in A Midsummer Night’s Dream currently on tour, while in the distance panto calls. Before his residency in the RSC theatre gardens, the legendary Giffords clown and iconic king of tomfoolery spoke to Gill Sutherland about this and that, and playing the Fool to David Tennant’s King Lear.

Book tickets at www.underbellytickets.com

You’ve got an incredibly full year coming up!

Yeah I’m a busy bee – I was meant to be taking it easy this year but I can’t help myself.

So the bad news is you aren’t with Giffords this year, but the good news you’ve got your own circus. How much of a wrench has it been not to be touring with Giffords this year?

Tweedy the Clown
Tweedy the Clown

It’s fairly strange, they are rehearsing at the moment and they are just up the road from where I live. I was up there yesterday because it was my day off. I’m about to open with A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Cheltenham [Everyman Theatre] on Thursday so I popped up there. I am still involved with the show, but it is very strange not to be touring.

Why did you decide not to do Giffords this year?

Well, I’ve done 17 tours in a row and I always said I’m going to take time out, but the time was never quite right. I was going to take time off, and then Nell [Gifford, who founded the circus and sadly died in 2019] got ill and when she passed the timing wasn’t right because we had to figure out what the show was without her; and then the pandemic happened. It’s been on my to do list for a long time. It’s an incredibly hard decision because I do love Giffords, and I am going to miss not doing it, but it’s also a very hard schedule – it’s a lot of shows a week and it keeps getting longer. This is the longest tour they’ve had. So yeah, just taking some time out from it and do some other things – Shakespeare now and then Tweedy’s Massive Circus. It’s not nearly as big a tour as Gifford’s is, so I am still taking it easier.

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