Welcome to the UK’s newest and most magical circus!
Brought to you by Peter and Grace Arnett, and the Popolino Clowns Kriss Freear and Paul Carpenter, Circus Wonderland is the result of two years of hard work and planning. We are now taking to the road with a spellbinding mix of colour, laughter and excitement to enchant audiences of all ages. Starring the award winning Popolino Clowns and a line-up of top international artistes, Circus Wonderland is a world of thrills and spills and glitter and glamour, a show that takes inspiration from the traditional picture book circus of our childhood memories to create a vibrant, fast moving show for today.
The Arnett Family Tradition
Wonderland directors Peter and Grace Arnett are a brother and sister with a strong family background in the circus and leisure industry. Their Grandfather Peter Arnett Senior was in his day the youngest licensed boxing promoter in the country, before diversifying into nightclubs, arcades, bingo and snooker clubs. He was also very friendly with the legendary circus impresario Billy Smart, as well as other travelling showmen, and this was where the family’s love affair with the circus began. Peter and Grace were brought up visiting and staying on shows from a young age, as well as living in a home surrounded by the UK’s largest private collection of circus memorabilia and parade vehicles, the pride of their father Pip, who runs the chain of Crown Bingo clubs along the south coast. Peter and Grace have inherited their father’s and grandfather’s passion for the circus. While Peter is kept busy in a managerial capacity, Grace appears in the show with her dazzling hula hoop routine, and has other acts in training. They have fulfilled their ambition with the launch of Circus Wonderland, and hope that the magic and wonder of the show will inspire another generation to pursue their dreams.
Kriss Freear, better known as ‘Kakehole’ and Paul Carpenter, ‘Mr Popol’, have been working together as a duo for ten years. Kriss actually ran away to join the circus when he was a child, although he did get sent back to school! As soon as he was sixteen, however, he joined the travelling life for good and has not looked back since. Paul has a background in theatre and magic before teaming up with Kriss to create a traditional musical clown double act. Whilst many circuses feature modern, mime style clowns with minimal costume and makeup, the Popolinos are trying to keep alive a larger than life, colourful form of comedy that for many is the true essence of circus. Mr Popol is the elegant, sophisticated ‘whiteface’ clown, who is the boss. Kakehole is the typical ‘auguste’ clown, with the big boots and red nose, who comes in and causes chaos while Mr Popol tries to keep order and play his music. Although the whiteface clown is still a familiar figure in continental circuses, Mr Popol is now the only white face circus clown left in the UK. The duo have appeared throughout the UK in different circuses, and also launched a campaign to combat Coulrophobia, the fear of clowns. They invite anyone with a genuine fear to come to the Big Top for clown therapy, or ‘clowncelling’ sessions. These have been a great success and attracted a great deal of interest from the international media, with the duo giving interviews as far afield as America and Australia. The Popolinos are the current holders of the ‘Best Circus Comedy Act’ in the Circus Friends Association awards, the second time that they have won this title.