Juggling, stilt-walking, and risk assessments: Young people taught seaside skills in Devon

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Young people have been taught traditional entertainment crafts along with practical life skills this summer in Devon.

They have been introduced to juggling and stilt-walking in front of crowds in Teignmouth and Exeter as part of a three-week course.

The training has been funded by the Arts Council and Teignmouth Town Council and one of the trainees, Spike Lidington, believes the skills he has learnt have been transferable.

He said: "Not only is it showing people how you can perform at all times in whatever scenario, it is also a confidence builder.

"We have learnt all the circus skills but we have also learnt very practical; skills like invoicing and risk assessments and all that stuff."

Dr Tony Lidington is a performer who has been acting as a mentor to some of the young people on the course

The course is offered people between 17 and 23 and is hoped it will help to revive historic skills while getting paid employment in the area.

Dr Tony Lidington, a lecturer at Exeter University, said: "It's timeless. The kind of entertainment we are trying to provide doesn't rely on sophisticated technology or sophistication particularly.

"It's simple, it is accessible to all ages and to people from all kinds of backgrounds and the fun here is to get people to play again. The seaside is a playground."

Performers have also been enjoying the course as it has offered them the chance to enter the industry which appeared to be threatened because of the pandemic.

Patrick Stone, a trainee, said: "Oh it's incredible.

"Especially given the hard times we've had this past year especially as an industry to come back from Covid and to instantly go into my first bit of professional work it's amazing."