TWO circus directors will be clowning around in Worcester as they bring their Circus Wonderland to the city for the first time.

Paul Carpenter and Kriss Freear are better known as clowns Kakehole and Popol, having appeared regularly in the town in recent years as part of other circuses.

This time, however, their oversized clown boots have taken the big step in launching their own show, which is appearing at Worcester Racecourse from Wednesday until Sunday, April 9 to 13.

The duo, who both ran away from home to join different circuses before forming their act together, have always dreamed of owning their show.

Paul, of Christchurch, in Dorset, was just four years old when his father took him to a circus as a surprise, little realising it would change his life forever.

Now 39, he said: “I was completely transfixed by the whole experience.

“Even at such a young age I was captivated by the idea that an amazing show could be here today and then gone tomorrow leaving nothing but a circle of faded grass, like a dream.”

For the last twelve years Paul has appeared as Popol, the UK’s last remaining traditional whiteface clown, alongside the typical auguste clown Kakehole with his red nose and big boots, and have twice been named Best Circus Comedy Act in the annual circus awards.

The duo have battled the weather to get Circus Wonderland to Worcester and were thankful that the racecourse has dried up in time for them to put on the performances.

“We are used to dealing with gales and mud, but there has been no let-up in the wet weather and some of our grounds are being cancelled because they are too wet to drive on to," Paul said.

Kriss, of Kings Lynn, in Norfolk, said: "Although they are kept busy behind the scenes, the duo still enjoy appearing in the spotlight with routines that include lots of music, magic and madness. “We believe a good clown act should be like a cartoon come to life."

At Circus Wonderland there will also be a host of international circus acts including Duo Stefaneli, who emerge from a glittering spaceship to perform dangerous trapeze manoeuvres, and Angel Bojilov, who spins plates and juggles while balancing on a slack wire.

“The circus is special because with such a mix of acts there is something to everybody,” said Paul.

“In spite of all the hard work involved, we all love what we do and believe that the circus is still the greatest show on earth.”

Performance times are weekdays at 4.30pm and 7.30pm, Saturday at 2pm and 5pm, and Sunday at 2pm only. Tickets cost £12 for adults and £10 concessions, or £7 on the first day. For further information contact the box office on 07531 612240.