Kids learn the art of juggling and spinning plates at circus event

SKILLS Matt Barnard, 40, teaches Oscar Marshall, seven, circus tricks at Portsmouth City Museum. Picture: Allan Hutchings (122613-102)
SKILLS Matt Barnard, 40, teaches Oscar Marshall, seven, circus tricks at Portsmouth City Museum. Picture: Allan Hutchings (122613-102)

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FAMILIES enjoyed a taste of the circus life at Portsmouth City Museum.

Youngsters learnt how to juggle and had fun clowning around with entertainer Matt Barnard who showed them the tricks of the trade in the museum’s garden yesterday.

Oscar Marshall, seven, of Epworth Road, Copnor, said: ‘It’s cool. I like the juggling and the diablo.’

Mum Claire, 36, added: ‘It seemed like a nice, fun event. We’ve been to things here before and they are always very good.’

Hannah Bryant, eight, of Landguard Road, Southsea, discovered plate spinning.

She said: ‘I want to start a circus club with my friends, so I wanted to learn some new skills.

‘I like it, it’s lots of fun.’

Her mum Susie, 44, said: ‘It’s great that she can come here and learn some new things.

‘It’s lovely because it’s not too busy and all the kids here seem quite nice.

‘Hannah can be quite shy so it’s great to see her taking part and getting really involved.’

The day, organised by the museum as one of their Out to Lunch summer events, had an unusual Dickensian theme and children could learn about the history of circus entertainment and get hands-on with some old equipment dating back to the author’s era.

Mr Barnard, 40, of South London, said: ‘We have been demonstrating with the Dickensian equipment.

‘I’ve had a lot of fun and the day has been well attended despite the showers.

‘The children have really enjoyed themselves.

‘It’s good for them to see and learn about new things.

‘Learning how to juggle is all about developing hand to eye co-ordination in a fun way.

‘It’s about motor skills but not quite in the same way as sport – it’s different to that.

‘This is far more inclusive, I think, and the emphasis is very much about having fun.

‘A lot of children love going to the circus but often they don’t get the chance to find out how to do things like juggling so it’s really good for them to be able to do that here.’


· Enjoy stories and craft at Paulsgrove Library in Marsden Road from 11am - noon. Call (023) 9237 7818 for more information.

· The Blue Reef Aquarium will visit Southsea Library in Palmerston Road from 11am - noon. For more information, call (023) 9268 8999. Entry is free.

· Michael O’Leary will bring stories to life at City Museum in Museum Road from noon - 2pm. There will be family art and craft. Admission is free.

· Pre-school children have the chance to get active thanks to GymTots sessions at Portsmouth Gymnastics Centre in Alex Way. Children aged three and four can take part in a session from 9.45am - 10.25am, while under threes can take part from 10.30am - 11.10am. Children will use soft play equipment to help with balance and coordination. All children under three must be accompanied by a parent or carer. Admission is £5.50 per child. More information is available on (023) 9266 0589.

· The Jungle Buddies play buss roles in to down in Commercial Road, outside H&M, from 2pm. The play equipment is designed to keep children happy and the bus includes a slide from top to bottom, ball pits, hanging snakes, biff ‘n’ bash, up and overs, and horizontal/vertical rollers. The day is aimed at children aged up to ten years old. Admission is £2.50 for ten minutes play. For more information, call 01329 835782.

· Admiral Lord Nelson’s medals will be on show on board HMS Victory. Discover more about the medals and badges. There will be the chance to complete a quick challenge to get the chance to create a medal to take home. Sessions are from 11am - 1pm, and 2pm - 4pm. Family tickets are £62.15, adults £21.50, children (five - 15) £15.80 and students £18.35. For more information, call (023) 9266 4549.

· Portsmouth Golf Centre in Burrfields Road is offering reduced cost lessons for children at 10am and 11am. Lessons are £3. Call (023) 9266 5449.