Unicycle on Tightrope over Penzance Harbour – Mazey Day 1992

This was our Unicycle-on-a-Tightrope stunt on Mazey Day – Penzance’s very own midsummer festival which had been launched the year previously with great success, but which we had missed because of our adventures in Brittany.

Background Information

Less than 12 months after our first proper show in Morlaix, in August 1991, here we were back in our hometown with a crazy idea for a stunt, full of confidence and seemingly fearless (we were neither of these of course, but in those early years of blissful inexperience everything seemed possible).

The idea had come about the previous year when we had visited Porthleven on Lifeboat Day where it had become an annual attraction for couples to attempt to ride a bicycle, with a counterbalance frame below, along a wire that was strung across the harbour.

It looked scary, but the rider was safe just so along as their partner stayed put on the frame below the bike. We devised a similar idea for a trapeze-style frame attached to a unicycle. This looked even more scary, because it rocked forwards and backwards as well as sideways, plus you had no handlebars to hold on to!

But, of course JoJo was underneath keeping me safely on the wire and hanging upside down dangerously close to those “heavily polluted waters”.

The Mazey Day director Steven Hall was really supportive and helped us on the day, and our good friend David White – Shiva Theatre director and Mazey Day’s Mock Mayor – was our commentator, though he had no idea what was going on, and neither did we really.

But we were amazed that hundreds and hundreds of people turned up to watch, and 29 years later, every-so-often someone will come up to me in the street and say “You were the chap who went across the harbour on that tightrope…”

Poor old JoJo hardly ever gets a mention!

Footnote: David’s name for me in the video, Les Saltimbeek, comes from the name we had been given in France which was Les Saltimbanques (an old-style name for acrobats) well, he thought it was funny…but really you have to read it to get the joke.

Production Information

Produced and Devised by Simon Pullum and JoJo Pickering

Live Music by
Pauline Sheppard
Nick McLeod
Andy Hewson

Simon Pullum
JoJo Pickering

Year of creation 1992

Toured 1992 and 1993 at Penzance Harbour