"Have a friend nearby to rescue you if you get stuck, find a step, or something higher so that you're at the right level to stand up, and then strap on the stilts, with the wood on the outside of your legs. Try using a stick or a pole as a third leg as it were, until you feel a bit more secure, then take this away when you feel ready. It's a good idea to be near a wall or a rail so you've got something to hold on to until your confidence grows. Once you're comfortable with walking, learn how to fall off. It's important not to fall backwards or sideways because you'll really hurt yourself. Instead, fall forwards, while leaning back to allow the plate on which your feet stand to take the brunt of the fall. Let your knees take the next part (invest in knee- pads), by which time you've lost momentum and you're not going to hurt yourself. If you put your hands out to break your fall, you'll probably get broken wrists.
Avoid wet and slippery floors and muddy venues if possible - I've never actually got stuck so far but have had experiences where it's been touch and go. Cobbles can also be a problem, as can going down hills. The most important thing to remember is that you can't stop and stand still or you'll fall over. You have to kind of waddle! Just move from one foot to the other constantly. It's quite tiring if you're not used to it, but great fun - you see things you wouldn't normally see, like people's bald spots!" Interview by Fiona McClymont
Annabelle Holland is a circus and physical theatre performer and teaches circus skills (0117 974 1398)