My name is Charles Shetcliffe, I am thirty years old, from the UK and am studying theatre and comedy in Paris, France. I am studying at the Ecole Phillipe Gaulier, which is an international school, specialising in Clown and Bouffon. Some previous students include Sacha Baron Cohen (Ali G/Borat), Helena Bonham Carter, Emma Thompson and Cal McCrystal (directed The Mighty Boosh). I have been performing for over 10 years and worked with companies such as The Invisible Circus, The Wonderclub, Arcadia, Ratupadrainpipe, InService Productions and other independent theatre makers. I have also trained ballet and performed in various shows throughout my teens. I recently found a passion for street performing and am enjoying acrobatics, fire eating and body burning.

In 2008 I was diagnosed with Huntington's disease; a genetic disorder that I inherited from my father, who died early last year from it. Huntington's disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative genetic disorder that affects muscle coordination and leads to cognitive decline and dementia. The earliest symptoms are a general lack of coordination and an unsteady gait. As the disease advances, uncoordinated, jerky body movements become more apparent, along with a decline in mental abilities and behavioural and psychiatric problems. Physical abilities are gradually impeded until coordinated movement becomes very difficult.
For the past year I have been studying at Ecole Phillipe Gaulier, and it is incredible to see the changes in the lives of the students and myself.  It inspires me that when I get older the opportunities exist to still perform and make people laugh on stage.  I am interested in creating the space for all to be idiots, to be beautiful idiots and shine a glorious light of humour on the things that make us human, and provide this opportunity to others from all walks of life. And that is why the school is an inspiration to me, because it embodies those principals, and it is a crucial part of the journey in making this a reality. I will bring this transformation to the Huntingdon's community. I will start by performing a bouffon show and running workshops for people affected by Huntington's disease in the UK. We will then build a new show, with the HD community, that will be performed across the country in 2013.

 A Ship of Fool's Theatre Company will be a force for change in the world; enabling us to create theatre with the Huntington's community, that is world class, using this to communicate their stories in a beautiful and humorous way.









  Share this story on Facebook