Meet the kids of the Laff Time Quartet

Written by by Hannah Dewan, CNN But before 2007, there was no showing off to family or friends. “We used to tell our parents that we worked odd jobs and had to go to…

Meet the kids of the Laff Time Quartet

Written by by Hannah Dewan, CNN

But before 2007, there was no showing off to family or friends.

“We used to tell our parents that we worked odd jobs and had to go to festivals and parties to finance it,” she recalls.

They brought pots and pans or, more likely, candlelit satchels. And there was — not surprisingly — a little witchcraft involved.

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“Our father brought these dummy plates. They were these little pine cone stones he would hold onto in the kitchen in case anyone caught our eyes while he was cooking, and one day, it looked like he had the evil eye and they were moving across the kitchen, because we would have like an eerie feeling. It was funny.”

Faithful revellers

The Laff Time Quartet allows children who might not usually experience the circus — or even festival — to relive their childhood summers at events like Circus Moon (Chicago) and Circus of Dreams (London). And it has paid off. Since 2015, when Sharon first joined the London group (named after the children’s album which introduces the kids to gigging), parents and their children have travelled up to 12,000 miles around the world to experience the performances.

“Our audiences are typically parents and children, so we’re not talking about the teenagers of today… it’s usually moms and dads and their kids,” she says.

The Laff Time Quartet has been touring the world since 2015 Credit: Sharon F. Cattell

“They’ve grown up with circus music and circus-loving parents.”

The production has been “massively successful,” she adds.

“It is a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of hard work and it takes a big commitment,” she explains.

The audience numbers vary wildly. For Mumford & Sons , the British folk band who have played the series as a special treat for their fans, it was upwards of 500 fans per performance. And for Sharon & Bram — the Kings of Leon cover band from the United States — it was a ticketed show every night of its tour.

Sharon & Bram want to spread the excitement of circus and music to “kids that don’t typically go to live events,” Cattell says. “It’s an experience that I think a lot of us went through in the old days and we felt like we missed out.”

The current tour, featuring “Our Fool’s Children,” which was first released in 2017, is estimated to bring in approximately $3 million in ticket sales. That’s because, since it is based around the Great British Summer Time, many people live in the UK or France, and travel there to catch the concerts.

What’s next?

The Laff Time Quartet want to continue their touring and collaborate with different circus artists. Pictured here in London, Getty Images

Since 2012, the Laff Time Quartet have spent time working with circus artists, often collaborating with circus groups around the world.

In the near future, they will be working with Sarabande Circus in South Africa — a showcase that caters specifically to ages six to 12 — and traditional European circus companies in Germany, Italy and the United States.

“We have to be mindful of having different traditions to represent so that they fit in at the circus,” says Cattell.

In the long term, they hope to work with other professional circus acts as well as other bands.

“What’s really cool about it is that it seems like the most amazing collaboration ever,” Cattell says.

“We see the circus community as such a perfect group for us. They all have very similar worldviews. It’s beautiful, and then we can create this big big, international working format.”

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