2010+

In 2010, I undertook an Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) project with Professor Jane Milling from the University of Exeter, which explored the application of the pierrot format to contemporary resorts and audiences in South Devon. We created a new pierrot troupe of emerging local artists called ‘The Pier Echoes’ and together with Mister Macko, we passed-on the knowledge and experience from performing as pierrots over the previous 26 years. As part of the project, we made the following video.

2010-07-15 The Guardian - The Pier Echoes
2010-07-15 The Guardian - The Pier Echoes
2010-07-13 This Is South Devon - The Pier Echoes
2010-07-13 This Is South Devon - The Pier Echoes

In 2011, I worked on a Heritage Lottery Project with Sidmouth Folk Festival to create a troupe of pierrots called ‘The Pier We Goes’ from the local secondary school, together with some ‘ringers’ from ‘The Pier Echoes’ – again passing-on the legacy of direct experience.

In 2012, I researched, wrote, performed and broadcast a 3-part series for BBC Radio 4 entitled ‘Pierrot Hero: The Memoirs of Clifford Essex’, which for the first time, broadcast the history of the founding of pierrots in 1891 by Clifford Essex.

In 2013, I helped direct a project for ‘Side by Side Theatre’: it was called ‘Illyria by the Sea’ and was based on Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’, set at the seaside, with pierrot performance at its heart and with an inclusive cast of people with different abilities

In 2015, I created ‘The Chin Uppers’ as a pierrot troupe of young people recruited from across South Devon – funded by the Armed Forces Community Covenant and in collaboration with Torbay Council and Doorstep Arts. They performed at Armed Forces Day on Babbacombe Downs with great success. You can find a short video of their performances labelled ‘‘The Chin Uppers’ perform at Babbacombe, 2015 (Part 1)’.

In 2016, another heritage project enabled me to create a collaborative schools’ pierrot troupe with students from two of my local schools – Teignmouth Community School and Dawlish Community College. The troupe was called ‘Poppies’ and performed in Teignmouth, Dawlish and Exmouth Festival.

In 2017, I was awarded a PhD from University of Exeter Drama Department for my thesis on itinerant British performance forms and how ‘The Pierrotters’ and a study of pierrot troupes had informed my thinking.

You can download Tony’s Ph.d here.

Note: some audio and video features won’t function in this pdf, but you can find these items on this website or at prom-prom.com.

In 2018/19, I devised a two-year project exploring the heritage of seaside entertainment troupes in Llandudno, North wales. This was a partnership with Venue Cymru and led to the creation of another exhibition, a youth troupe – ‘The Jollies’ and a new professional pierrot troupe ‘The New Follies’, featuring Bunny of ‘The Pier Echoes’, Mister Macko of ‘The Pierrotters’ and myself. You can find a lot of information about this project on the following website: www.seasidefollies.co.uk

In 2019, I was commissioned by Routledge Publishing to write the first definitive account of the evolution of the British seaside pierrot troupes and concert parties, entitled ‘Don’t Forget the Pierrots! – the complete history of the British seaside pierrot troupes and concert parties’. It is due for publication, in 2022.

In 2020, as part of the Arts Council of England’s emergency funding support for arts organisations as a result of the COVID pandemic, Prom-Prom received a grant towards the creation of this website, so that the archives of one of Britain’s longest -running and most influential street acts would be digitally preserved for posterity and made accessible to all.

Please feel free to contribute images, memories or ephemera by leaving a message and your contact details here.

Finally, thank you to everyone who has contributed to the success and joy of ‘The Pierrotters’ over the years – all the funders, artists, audiences, the Rotter widows and of course, The Rotters themselves… I wish you, as always, a very “Good Afternoo-oon!” from Your Ever-Loving, Reverend Uncle Tacko! X

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