Friday, 3 January 2014

The Clown Gallery and Church

I've been looking forward to visiting the Holy Trinity Church/ Clown Gallery in Dalston ever since I found out about it over a month ago---how magical and humbling and poignant, I thought--- a church for clowns--! And so I began reading up on the life and times of Joseph Grimaldi, the most popular English entertainer of the Regency era. I was sad to discover during his years of energetic clowning he suffered numerous injuries which contributed to a rapid decline in his health. Towards the end of his life he became a depressed and impoverished alcoholic.

Grimaldi is remembered today in an annual memorial service on the first Sunday in February, at Holy Trinity Church/ Clown Church. The service, which has been held since the 1940s, attracts hundreds of clown performers from all over the world who attend the service in full clown costume.

After a lot of research I found out that the clown museum is open to the public on the first Friday of every month. And so I went along today praying that it would be open. It wasn't. I was waiting outside the door for ages in the rain hoping someone would turn up... I also tried the main church entrance, but alas no luck...

So I made a whole bunch of phone calls and finally got through to Mattie the guy who manages the gallery, he told me much to my disappointment that they would open again on the first Friday of February and that there would also be the Sunday memorial service. Not much good to me, but never mind. I'm not sure if I'll be around then, but if you are I would def recommend going along to the service! I also stumbled across the beautiful 'clowns prayer'....magic!

As I stumble through this life,
help me to create more laughter than tears,
dispense more cheer than gloom,
spread more cheer than despair.

Never let me become so indifferent,
that I will fail to see the wonders in the eyes of a child,
or the twinkle in the eyes of the aged.

Never let me forget that my total effort is to cheer people,
make them happy, and forget momentarily,
all the unpleasantness in their lives.

And in my final moment,
may I hear You whisper:
"When you made My people smile,
you made Me smile."