A Handful of Hats is the circus company founded by Pete Gamble, who’s experience and credentials span the hospitality, education, circus and arts industries.
Based in sunny Barrybados in the Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales , UK, this former chef-hotelier and lecturer has performed across the UK, Europe and the USA in circus, film and TV .
With over 25 years experience and a specialism in character acts with custom costumes, comedy circus acts, whip cracking and a charming line in repartee, he’s achieved international performer status and a rake of competition awards along the way.
Having been told by the medics at the age of 40 that he had to give up sport or not walk again he made a list of alternative things to do that included learning how to fire breathe, juggle and crack a whip. Being blessed with poor motor skills co-ordination he struggled but the satisfaction and fun of learning has never left him. Working in Leisure Centres at the time allowed him to form a Circus club and that led to meeting up with a new neighbour who initially was the club trainer and then became a business partner in what became the busiest circus entertainment companies in the South West. An amicable split saw the formation of A Handful of Hats 5 years ago to allow a focus on solo acts and new collaborations.
He introduced whip cracking, knife throwing, and lock picking to the British Juggling Convention scene and made the very first fire whip to be used in a performance in the UK and is still the only live target knife throwing act to have appeared at Glastonbury Festival.
He founded the British Whip Cracking Convention and the Western Skills Convention and went to America where to his surprise he beat the 23 times Guinness World Record holder in freestyle performance whip cracking .
Western arts have now become a staple of the circus convention workshop timetables to the extent that he was asked to organise a Western Arts Village at the 2019 European Juggling Convention to cope with the expected demand , with 22 other trainers who he has had the pleasure of teaching and working with along the way they taught over 3000 people during a 7 day period, a little bit different from when he had two whips and three knives to teach with.
With a training base in Wales. (It’s a church hall but he likes to call it that !) he provides stunt, western skills and performance training at all levels, organises international skills conventions and workshops and will travel anywhere to spread the love of circus and whip cracking and knife throwing and axe throwing and he does a bit of gun spinning and lasso too…
Testimonials, Quotes and Client lists
Some of the People we've worked for :
Western Arts Club , European Hi Speed Whip Target Champion (2019 )
Indiana Show Grand Award Winner, European Whip Cracking Championship Czech Republic ( 2017)
International Freestyle Performance Whip Cracking Champion ( International Whip Cracking Championship Dallas, Fort Worth, Texas USA )
International Silver Medalist Whip Targets and Accuracy , ( as above )
Bronze Medalist " Whip Cracking Target Accuracy Skeet Shooting" ( as above)
European Cabaret Act Challenge Winners ( Charlotte Church Show ) London.
Western Arts Club certified "Expert Whip Trainer"
Resident Trainer No Fit State Circus
UK National Whip Cracking Champion
International Western Skills Festival Fast Draw Target Champion
Professional Qualifications past and present
Cert. Ed. CMIOSH, FISRM ( Hons) MIH, MIIRSM,
TV and Film Appearances.
Trained and appeared with the following performers.
Ben Elton (The One Show) McFly, Steve Backshall, ( Deadly Dinosaurs ) Mike Bushell,( BBC News) Marty Jopson, ( The One Show) the cast of Mackintosh's Barnum!, Terry Wogan, the cast of Lexicon for No Fit State Circus, Cameron Diaz (doubled for the Graham Norton Show), Lee Mack and Danny Baker for Duck Quacks Don't Echo, Sky TV. numerous studio execs and media influencers for the UK launch of The Magnificent Seven and global launch of Kingsman The Golden Circle . James Bell for Billy the Kid and Annette Chu for The Grass is Greener.
See link for filmography.
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