A brief history of clowns to celebrate Andreea's birthday!

Hip hip hooray! It’s our crazy clown Andreea’s birthday!

The lovable Andreea has been appearing in shows with Gandeys Circus for nearly a decade.

Now Andreea is actually French – so perhaps we should say ‘bon anniversaire’!

We’re proud to have Andreea as part of our current team in the big top at Butlin’s Skegness.

While our other clowns – currently performing at Butlin’s Bognor Regis and Minehead – Bippo and Chico Rico are more traditional, Andreea opts to show off her sense of style with an offbeat modern look. We think her pink tutu / Converse / blazer combo is pretty iconic… especially paired with her blasting boombox! (she’s never been shy of making an entrance).

Andreea likes interrupting the action with her silly routines.

And you know something else… she is the UK’s only female clown!

So you could say she’s a bit of an innovator when it comes to clowning around. With that in mind, let’s look at how much clowns have changed over the years…

Clowns started to appear more prominently in ancient Greece and Rome – but the earliest clowns actually date back to Egypt in 2400 BC. This is also where the concept of a court jester, popular during the Middle Ages, came from.


The man credited with inventing the modern clown (in the 1800s) is Joseph Grimaldi. This is the ‘classic’ image people have of clowns – an emphasis on physical comedy, face painted white with red patches on the cheeks, and outlandish colourful costumes.

Meanwhile over in Andreea’s native France Jean-Gaspard Deburau’s Pierrot was leading the way as one of the first professional silent mimes…

After Philip Astley created the ‘modern circus’ in 1768, he introduced a clown as some light relief between equestrian sequences.



Then in America in the late 19th and early 20th century, clowns became modelled on tramp characters, with unshaven faces and tatty clothes – the most famous being Emmett Kelly’s ‘Weary Willie’ during the Great Depression.

Things took a brighter turn during the 1950s and 1960s when clowns like Bozo were introduced on TV. McDonald’s hamburger-loving brand ambassador Ronald McDonald was brought in too, inspired by this sillier breed of clowns.



Things took a more sinister direction in 1986 though when Stephen King wrote ‘It’, about a demon disguised as a clown. It was very popular, and clowns soon became a motif in other horror movies like Saw.



But as Andreea, Bippo and Chico Rico will tell you, there’s really nothing to be afraid of in their acts at all. Not unless you’re afraid of laughing more than you EVER have before.  

So let’s hear it for Andreea, our innocent-looking…

Super innocent... right? Who couldn't love this face!


Popcorn-loving…

Her favourite treat, she loves chomping on popcorn between shows.


Movie-making…

Andreea likes to get the audience involved in her movie creations. Credit: Andy Payne. 

Face-painting…

Who knew? She's a skilled artist too! Credit: Andy Payne. 


Mad-as-a-brush clown! 

We doubt she'll be cleaning for long before the mischief begins!

Gandeys Circus is at Butlin's Skegness, Minehead and Bognor Regis until September 2. After that we're at intu Merry Hill for our Halloween spooktacular from 26 October to 4 November. Find all our tour dates and book here