Tales from the Marshes

After the Eye Show in 1977, Dave and Maggie, from Cornwall's Footsbarn Theatre, stayed on in East Anglia. The plan was for them to help organise a professional group of new-age showmen. Admin, crew, promoters, performers, multitaskers all, this group would travel about providing the kernel of a string of fairs in locations all over the island of Albion.

Coypu Capers 78In preparation for this the Coypu Show was devised. Based on Mick Sparksman's cartoon strip it was song, dance and slapstick performed in front of cartoon backdrops. There were about 25 people involved in the production. It was three months rehearsal, with four shows to finish. It was an exciting project, very enjoyable for those involved, but it didn't do a lot with regard to getting that professional core together.

There were other reasons why the professional idea was left behind but I think that most people preferred the committed amateur approach and the way the Coypu Show worked out proved this. The site crews consisted of part time, self employed and unemployed people who could juggle their time to spend an occasional fortnight in a field. The full time parents and workers were active in admin, and there to take the strain come the weekend of the event. Although there were a few people who were effectively showmen by trade, most were happy with the part-time and voluntary way fairs had been organised. That was the way which prevailed.