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World Buskers Festival

Iron Chickens home to roost

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Christchurch performer David Ladderman and former Cirque du Soleil clown Nate Cooper have been awarded Iron Chickens at the final weekend of the World Buskers Festival.

At the final weekend of the festival people queued for four hours on Saturday morning to buy tickets for evening shows.

Some shows sold out in just 15 minutes, while all of the evening shows sold out by the end of the day.

The Press Critics Choice award, otherwise known as the Iron Chicken, is awarded to the best international act and Kiwi act at the festival every year.

The winners are given an Iron Chicken sculpture by West Coast artist Hannah Kidd, $2500 in cash and an invitation to the festival next year.

Previous Christchurch winners have been Shay Horay, also known as Rubberband Boy, Mulletman and Sam Wills, who used his prize money to help develop his international smash hit show, The Boy with Tape on his Face.

Ladderman won the Iron Chicken for his show Battle of the Bastards, which tells the story of Edmund the bastard from the William Shakespeare play King Lear.

The judges admired the show's entertaining mix of straight Shakespeare with busker patter and audience participation. The show took Ladderman 10 years to develop.

"It took 10 years to build this Iron Chicken - to lay this egg. You don't count your chickens until they have hatched," he said.

"I feel like now I'm allowed to play golf with Sam, Shay and Mullet. Before it was like: 'Sorry, Dave, it's just the Iron Chicken guys going out for a round'."

US performer Nate Cooper was part of the Beatles-themed Love show at the Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas. He performed in festival street shows as part of double act Knuck n Futz and was also part of the Buskers Burlesque evening show.

The judges admired his fantastic clowning skills, dancer's grace and his very funny rollerskating routine in the burlesque show.

Cooper said he loved performing at the festival.

"I'm very grateful. I am grateful just to be part of the festival. I love the community and the people. I love to come here. It is a joy. It's beautiful. I love working with the other performers and the audience," he said.

People started queuing for festival tickets in north Hagley Park at 7am, four hours before the box office opened at 11am. At one point the queue stretched back through the park for hundreds of metres.

The World Buskers Festival came to a close last night with Best Bits, where performers pull off their best tricks for the final show.

Iron Chickens come home to roost

© Fairfax NZ News