A Cracking Circus Convention!

A Cracking Circus Convention!

Just got back from a great sell out Circus Convention put on by Cardiffs' newest circus training company Upside Down Circus and was delighted and honoured to be asked to train Western Skills as part of an illustrious team of international  circus performers and trainers .

Delivering Whip Cracking, Knife Throwing and Lasso spinning to a dedicated group  of circus performers was an absolute joy and they all had a rooting tooting kind of day!    

That’s it, I’m giving up aerial, I want to be a whip cracker now!
— Samantha Martin Upside Down Circuss

There's always time for Tea!

There's always time for Tea!

A glorious return to where it all started for Peter, 25 years ago almost to the day he could be found fire breathing and filling the entrance cupola of Cardiff City Hall with flames and then nervously juggling real axes over the priceless marble floor of the Grand Hall for a Student Ball for No Fit State Circus and here is is as The Mad Hatter Ringmaster for the same great circus company for an Alice in Wonderland global Awards evening for the countrys' leading Insurance company.  

Dear NFSC
It was fabulous! your performers were absolutely brilliant. I even got a great picture of me with the fantastic “ Mad Hatter” who also did us a grand entrance announcemment into “ Tea is served!” I loved it!!
Thank you once again !
— George Event Organiser

"Work you Devil ! Work!"

"Work you Devil ! Work!"

Big Workshops, Little Workshops, Thin Workshops, Noisy Workshops, Quiet Workshops, Knife Throwing Workshops, Circus Workshops, Fire Eating Workshops, Corporate Workshops, Whip Cracking Workshops. Balloon Modelling Workshops " More Danger" Workshops, Team Building Workshops, Fire Whip Cracking Workshops, Lock Picking Workshops, Lasso Workshops, Gun Spinning Workshops, Kingsman Western Skills Workshops, Indiana Jones Workshops, Nose Picking Workshops, Performance Workshops, Blank Firing Weapon Workshops. We've got them all!  Come on in! Have a look around!  

Qualified, Circus Trainers, CRB/DBS, Equity,  Full PLI and Fire Insurance. A hat tip and credit to the fabulous whip cracking circus performer Syvia Roast for the profile photo.  

www.ahandfulofhats.co.uk 

Western Skills Festival UK 2018

Western Skills Festival UK 2018

Delighted to be able to assist this year wiith the Festival that we founded in Swansea in 2015 , it has grown in strength and activities and this year included Archery, Leatherwork, Whipmaking workshops, lasso workshops, gun spinning , axe and knife throwing , gun safety, bullriding, whip cracking for Begginners, Advanced and Competition Skills together with a full range of competitions . A special thank you to the organisers and all the very generous whip makers from around the world who very kindly sent some extraordinary prize whips, DVD's , gift tokens, fantastic key rings, mugs, pugs and slugs. Their contact details are in the Whip Resource page on this site and they were. Axel Lackman, from Germany  Sylvia Rosat from Silver Whips, Switzerland, Ali Close from Gravity Outlaws purveyors of prized presentation particulars, Adam Winrich from America , Ian Savin, Rufus Ruffcut and James Hewitt from the UK,  Ric Boyd from America, Simon Martin from Tasmania , April Jennifer Choi from America, Gerhard van Zil and Alwyn Sturgeon from South Africa   

Workshops , Shows and Competitions Galore 

The Circus came to town!

The Circus came to town!

Llanelli celebrated 250 years of Circus with a Family Fun Day in the town centre, put togethre for them by A Handful of Hats , clowns to the left of them, jokers to the right... street magicians, balloon modellers, The Dapper Chappies, stilted bicycle riders, jugglers, jokes, many many jokes, circus workshops with every skill and toy in the book, face painters  and fairground rides  providing free entertainment all afternoon with a sizzly circus show in the grand Atheneum Hall to finish it all off!    

It’s been a brilliant day, thank you so much for all you’ve done, everyone has had so much fun and the show was fantastic.
— Mandy Jenkins Llanelli Action

And then we had the Show , with yours truly Ringmastering like a good un, with jokes, tricks and a whip, it all went splendidly. 

If you'd like your own slice of Circus Pie in you town, city or County Show please don't hesitate to contact Peter on 07875 826773 or email him at ahandfulofhats@gmail.com 

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Llanelli celebrates Circus 250!

Llanelli celebrates Circus 250!

250 years ago this year Philip Astley founded what was to become circus as we know it,  with his performance ring the perfect size for performing horses , with his cast of tumblers, high wire walkers and jugglers he developed a popular entertainment media that had world wide appeal and that has now deverloped into the moderm animal free circus that we all know and love these days . 

21st February sees another of A Handful of Hats increasingly popular Circus Workshops opening for free events across the UK in the town centre of Llanelli in South Wales, starting at 12pm it will be rounded off by a circus show in the towns' library from 2.30pm - 3pm. Amongst the cast of enertainers during the  day will be the famous Thomas Trilby and Steve Chaos as the Dapper Chappies with their glorious stilted bikes and juggling fun, face painters , a fairground, Alf 5 foot of Fun Street Magic and Russell from Pick N Mix Circus offering his fantastic balloon creations. Come along , join in the fun .   

The Wild Wild West!

The Wild Wild West!

Delighted to be able to get back in the saddle and  help out at the Western Skills Festival I founded in 2015. I'll be helping run the Whip Cracking Competitions and workshops, with a new organising committee it's moved from Black Hills of Wales to the Plains of Northampton to a larger venue that will provide totally seperate Whip Cracking and Knife Throwing Ranges together with a whole host of fun and workshops in a full range of Western Skills. Thanks to the generosity of old and new whip cracking friends and makers across the world we will be offering a range of quality whips and training DVDs as prizes.

So shake off those winter blues and get yourself down to join in the fun and learn some new skills .   

WESTERN SKILLS FESTIVAL 2018 NORTHAMPTON UK ,

10TH AND 11TH FEBRUARY 2018

TWO DAYS OF RIP ROARIING FUN AND INSTRUCTION!

4th year running, bigger and better than ever before with a new larger venue.

 

• WHIP CRACKING WORKSHOPS, with free to use loaner whips and safety kit, for Beginners and Performance Workshop plus Competition Skills Workshops with the UK's only National and International Performance and Competition Champion.

WHIP CRACKING COMPETITIONS , ACCURACY , FAST DRAW, SKEET SHOOTING, CANDLE SNUFFING CASH PRIZE CHALLENGE. PRIZE WHIPS TO BE WON FROM THE LEADING WHIP MAKERS AROUND THE WORLD. PLUS SIMON MARTIN TUTORIAL DVDS AND RIC BOYD FALLS.

• KNIFE / AXE THROWING WORKSHOPS FOR ALL LEVELS WITH INTERNATIONAL LEVEL INSTRUCTORS .

• COME AND TRY THE BIG BROTHER AXES AND MEET THE TEACHERS.

• KNIFE THROWING COMPETITIONS WITH CASH PRIZES

• LASSO SPINNING AND TRICK ROPING

• GUN SPINNING

• EXPERT BULLRIDING TUTION AND COMPETITIONS.

• ARCHERY workshops for all

• INTRODUCTION TO NYLON WHIP PLAITING & MAKING CRACKERS

• INTRODUCTION TO LEATHERWORK

• ITEMS FOR SALE E.G. WHIPS / KNIVES / LEATHER SHEATHS

• SATURDAY EVENING PARTY WITH LINE DANCING (BRING YOUR OWN DRINK)

• INSTANT WHIP WORKSHOP (+£18 FOR MATERIALS BUT TAKE THE WHIP YOU'VE MADE HOME - LAST TICKET SALE FOR THIS 2nd FEB)

Just £50 for the whole weekend of fun or £68 with fabulous food

Day tickets £30 or £40 with food. Free tea and coffee!!

TICKETS AVAILABLE AT THE DOOR OR ON LINE , for more info please see: http://westernskillsfesti.wixsite.com/westernskillsuk

And it's a goodnight from him, and a goodnight from me...

And it's a goodnight from him, and a goodnight from me...

The visits and appointments are all over for this year, time for us to buckle down and finish off that last minute packing, polish the sleigh and parctice our landing techniques, we'll be in your area very soon now and hope you are all receive what you wish for with good health and happiness for all.    

Just the most fun and magical Santa we have seen, the house, gardens and Christmas Walk was superb.
— Mr & Mrs T Nesbit , Bath

On with the motley..

On with the motley..

Traced back through the mists and myths of time, from Odin and the Norse Legends , Spirit of Christmas Past , the Dutch Sinterklaas and St Nicholas himself, the Green Santa embodies all the warm friendly elements of this special time of year.

He re-appeared this year at Bryngawr Country Park in a special bower, a real green alternative to the modern red Santa Claus, based on an original interpretation of past Christmases , perfect in this woodland glade or just as at home in a stately home, it was a charming start to Christmas celebrations. 

It seems you have stolen the hearts of Bryngawr. An absolute joy, we were so pleased he could appear again and create such special magic in this special place. Everyone loves The Green Santa !
— N E Events and Promotions Manager

A right Royal Affair !!

A right Royal Affair !!

A great honour to be asked to provide a Christmas Circus Workshop again this year for the  hundreds of children attending The Royal Mint Christmas Party. It filled the biggest hall in one of the biggest Leisure Centres in Wales (Peter taught some of the centres' managers in his sport lecturing days so it was great to catch up with them as well.)  

“ A highlight of the event! the children and adults loved the range of activities and circus equipment and the care you took to ensure they all learned something they enjoyed so much..
— "Liz" Chief Elf, The Royal Mint

" There's lovely you look!"

"Charlie Christmas " spread even more joy over November up in Tonypandy in the Rhondda Valleys, famous as the site of the first International Rugby match between England and Wales this once bustling mining town rang with christmas tunes and giggles galore as  Mr Bubbles as " Charlie Christmas", challenged the children and adults alike, to see who could make the most and biggest bubbles while he checked who had been naughty and who had been nice.    

It’s such a fun interactive act , no wonder they love you !
— "Bernie" Events Co-ordinator RCT

Let there be light!

Pontypridd Town Centre resounded to the sounds of Christmas tunes and happy laughter this November as Charlie Christmas rode his interactive Musical Christmas Bubble Workshop through the High Street, stopping often to gather a crowd, have a Christmas Quiz, check who's been good, give out prizes and make many many bubbles with the help of his Christmas Elves.  

Just wanted to say an enormous Thank You! for coming along to the “Ponty Switching On”.

Everyone I spoke to loved Mr Bubbles as “ Charlie Christmas “ on his trike! It was so lovely to see you again and hopefully you are available so we can book you again for next year?
— Jan Fry Senior Executive Officer Pontypridd Town Council

"More Danger in The Lakes"

"More Danger in The Lakes"

High Fellside Hall, a multi million pound manor farmhouse on the edge of The Lake District became the site of some dangerous goings on for a group of ten lifetime friends who wanted to stage a reunion with a difference.

Having seen the media training we did for the launch of new The Kingsman film , The Magnificent Seven and their friend Joel Hicks, their theme was " More Danger!" 

So we came up with a melange of circus skills, a ladle full of western skills, a large dollop of zombie apocalypse sauce, a pinch of secret agent skills and just a smidgen of downright silly fun stuff to make sure their weekend away was truly memorable.    

The range of activities you trained us in, ticked boxes on my bucket list I didn’t even know existed”
— Michael Stevens Digital Entrepeneur and Chef

For your own " Taste of Danger" speak to the Head Chef of Fear on 07875 826773 , email ahandfulofhats.co.uk or have a burchers hook at out Workshop pages .. " You choose , We Stand and Deliver! 

Thank you from the heart of my bottom for the fantastic weekend, everyone who can still speak from the screaming say they had a glorious time.
— Brian Gumbley Financier and head bean counter.

Whips crack and ducks quack!

Whips crack and ducks quack!

Enormous fun working with the cast and crew of the popular science quiz programme " Duck Quacks Don't Echo" We had to teach the Presenter Lee Mack and his star guest Danny Baker  how to crack a whip , needless to say Danny had forgotten to mention that he had been hit by a whip whilst having a go as a young man and was terrified of them , needless to say he was a trouper and got there in the end .  

You Sir! are a natural showman! It was an enormous pleasure and great fun to work with you, many thanks for all your efforts.
— Lee Mack , Presenter, Comedian, Actor

The whips used were 2 X 4ft " AHOH Workshop Wonders" custom built by Rufus Ruffcut in paracord to copy some of my original  green hide Australian bullwhips and 1 X 6ft Joe Strain bull whip previouly owned by the legendary Vince Bruce. 

Home on the Range

Home on the Range

A Handful of Hats 2017 04.jpg

When the extraordinary Joel Hicks, actor, photographer, extreme athlete and fundraiser wanted to add to his skills , we were delighted to visit his 14 acre homestead in the rolling countryside of Leicester and gave him a day to remember of whip cracking, knife and axe throwing, fire eating and fie whip cracking. We then worked on those to a performance level so that he can spread the joy with his charity foundation http://www.alwayswithasmile.com/ 

A full range of circus , cowboy, and "more danger" workshops are available for individual and groups please see here for more details or phone 07875 826773 or email ahandfulofhats@gmail.com 

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Watch him in action : 

Fancy being a Dinosaur for us?

Fancy being a Dinosaur for us?

Well , I may not be in the first spring of youth, but there's no reason to make a point of it! I thought when Ruth from the BBCs Natural History Unit asked me , but when she explained, I had to say Yes! 

Especially as it meant working with the legendary TV presenter and adventurer Steve Backshall on his latest programme #DeadlyDinosaurs. The theory is that the mighty Diplodoccus may have used its gigantic tail as a whip like weapon. Could Steve be taught to crack a whip like a dinosaur and test it's destructive power? With up to five cameras in use including a high speed Dragon look out for the edition in April next year , we had fun, Steve had fun , Dippy had fun. Thanks Ruth.    

Brighton Bulldog Picnic

Well it was actually Lavant but every year the Bulldog Rescue and Rehousing Society hold an annual fundraising Fete and we were delighted to be asked to support this noble cause.

With bull dogs, pug and Frenchies as far as the eye could see Charlie Bubbles was kept busy making bulldogs, flowers, swords, teddy bears, and designer dogs for the happy campers 

"Here be Dragons!"

Captain Bloodknock manned the Recruiting Office to see who wanted to join the 3rd Battalion The Royal Dragonaires!. He put them through their paces to ensure they were brave enough, strong enough and pretty enough to help guard this proud nations' Dragons.

Two fun shows were finished off by assisting the talented Mr Russell Wells in a Dragon Balloon Modelling Workshop that saw hundreds of children and adults alike making the longest mobile dragon sculpture in Wales. What fun was had!  The Dragons Tail of Fire! The Popadum Machine Gun, The Sword Fight of Doom! The Dragon Egg and Spoon Race , " How to call a Dragon" The Dance of a Thousand Dragon Tails! were just a few of the unique parts of this especially written show for Margam Parks Dragons Quest Day           

Brilliant show at Margam Park today, the children loved it, especially the whip of fire!
— Richard James Allen

Wowing them in Worcester!

A wonderful workshop of wonders in the wilds of Worcester saw A Handful of Hats working with that esteemed corporate circus entertainer Thomas Trilby to deliver a day long jamboree of juggling, stilts, spinning plates, hat manipulation, diablo and a downright joyous day of fun .   

Captain Bloodknock goes potty at Ponty Lido!

Celebrating the 90th birthday of The National Lido of Wales saw Captain Bloodknock playing out the role of the Lidos' very first Baths Supervisor.. (which was quite appropriate and even funnier as Peter taught a number of the pools' existing managers whilst he was the senior sports management lecturer at Barry College :-) ) Dressed in his finest, he entertained the queues all day with period banter, stiff warnings about their behaviour and appalling dress sense....  plus a bit of magic and balloon modelling he learnt on his travels.. dontcha you know! He even took the opportunity to visit his old regiment, though why the chaps thought it was a laughing matter was beyond him!