‘DO NOT repeat this at home’ was the message children got from their parents when they went to see a world-famous juggler who shoots ping pong balls out of his mouth.
Rod Laver attracted a crowd of intrigued spectators when he performed in Sheffield’s Winter Garden on Saturday on the final day of the month-long Children’s Festival in the city.
Juggling six table tennis balls fired from his mouth was one of the highlights of his set, but juggling three knives while standing on a rolling cylinder also impressed the crowd.
He was one of three performers at the event who regularly work in London’s Covent Garden - home to some of the best street entertainers in the world.
Magician Steven Faulkner took part, along with Sheffield-born slapstick comedian Goronwy Thom, aged 31, who started his career busking for pocket money in Orchard Square, Sheffield city centre, as a schoolboy.
The former pupil of Dore’s King Ecgbert School, who enrolled at London’s Circus School aged 16, said he took part in children’s festival events as a child and hopes it inspires other youngsters.
He said: “The thing about street entertainment is that you are making it accessible to so many people - children and families who wouldn’t necessarily go to a theatre say.
“And with this festival there has been something for everybody, just like street entertainment there is so much variety and people are always coming up with something new and exciting.”
Don Whittle, aged 39, of Hillsborough, who took his six-year-old daughter to the event, said: “We came especially for this as we have been to other events and knew this was on - this festival is great for getting kids into the arts and in the current economic climate when everyone is struggling it is great it is free.”