For the first time, a female jester will be flexing her funnybones at Carisbrooke Castle this summer.

Trained by English Heritage’s National Jester Peet ‘Peterkin’ Cooper, Swiss acrobat Colette Orler will make her Isle of Wight debut today (Tuesday) when she performs as part of the castle’s spectacular joust.

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Colette has a lifelong love of circus and contortion and has trained and performed around the world. Joining English Heritage as jester ‘Polly Glotti’ her new acrobatic act takes inspiration from history’s great female fools.

Whilst playing the fool is more traditionally a man’s job, there are some famous exceptions. Matilda Makejoy performed for the medieval courts of Kings Edward I and II, and jester Lucretia the Tumbler was an entertaining member of Queen Mary I’s Tudor court. Like their male counterparts female fools combined physical comedy with wordplay and wit, and often specialised in saltatrix – the art of acrobatics, contortion, and dance.

Colette, who has trained at Bristol’s acclaimed Circomedia, can’t wait to play the fool at Carisbrooke,

“I’ve been a contortionist for as long as I can remember, it was only a matter of time before my body-bending ways turned me into a professional fool. I’ve packed up my puns, readied my wit, and stretched out my funny bones – I hope Carisbrooke is ready for some pretty serious silliness.”

The Joust at Carisbrooke Castle runs from the 14th-16th August and the 21st-23rd August, and is billed as ‘the joust to end all jousts’. 4 of the most skillful knights in the Kingdom, mounted on noble steeds and armed with a solid lance, will compete in a battle for love or eternal sorrow.

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