Norwich: British Juggling Convention 1995

They Get Better Every Year, a Convention Report

Norwich Circus Centre hosted the 8th British convention for just under a thousand jugglers after Easter. An excellent site, more shows than ever and some sunny days contributed to a "start of the summer" party atmosphere.

For the first year, a young talent competition called "Springboard" was organised with prizes sponsored by Beard. The youngest entrant was 9 and the winner was Phillip Penny (13) who presented comedy juggling with up to 4 fire torches and finished on an 8 foot uni.

Spectral FX treated us to a truly mind-blowing UV juggling and puppet show. This five person troupe from Watford with jugglers Judy Goulston and Mark Bolwell, designer Ellie Behrens and music by John Blanchard (Ultra Vision) have created a beautiful 25 minute piece of visual theatre. Highly recommended.

The stars of the first International Variety were Duo Full House from Switzerland. Henry and Gabi are impressively multi-talented in piano, juggling, acrobatics and characterisation. Everyone I spoke to rated them. Venus and Jugglestruck were faultless. Le La Les were fascinating with their balance and musical mayhem, while Jeremy James has taken ring grinds to another dimension.

In the gyms, Michael Ferguson was throwing 10 bags and Mandy and Tarim led a popular workshop on both hands passing on up to 9 club ultimates. Simon and Julia gave a lesson on "Snake boarding", an advanced skateboard which glides gracefully across flat surfaces. Games included showing an unusual trick - a 3 ball mills mess with penguin catches was the audience's favourite.

Two renegade tents kept entertaining late into the night. Some highlights were: Andy Premadus with triple diabolo suicides; Michael Hessling and Skate Naked.

Innovations in kit included fire hats, annoying audibals, JuggleKrazy software and home- made fimo lighters. We could even buy souvenir balls printed with the convention logo. All sorts of unis were proudly on show - 4 wheeled, one with a kick stand, a 3 speed giraffe, half a bicycle, and a supper fast 27" uni geared up to 42" equivalent. Floppy jester's hats were the popular fashion accessory in the beer tent which sold special "jugglers ale". Remember the cafe from Leeds EJC? It was there, along with night time stalls selling vegetarian food from around the world.

Thank you Norwich for getting it right. Next year is Edinburgh.

Anna Semlyen 1995