Obituary: Mark Robertson

Mark Robertson, juggler, born London 11 January 1963, died London 20 August 1992.

SEVENTEEN YEARS ago Mark Robertson watched a television show featuring Kris Kremo, one of the world's greatest jugglers. Immediately he decided that that was what he wanted to become. Two years later, at the tender age of 14, he won a Butlin's talent contest and as a result performed at the London Palladium.

It was the beginning of an outstanding show career. At 17 Robertson was combining yo-yoing with his juggling, was touring with the Harlem Globe Trotters and had won a top prize for Britain at the Cirque de Demain in Paris in 1980. There he met Sergei Ignatov, the Russian juggling master, who recognised his talent and took him under his wing. From then Robertson toured almost every continent, amazing people with his consummate skill.

Recently he performed for the Magic Circle and The Water Rats and toured with Russ Abbott and Paul Daniels. His latest trip took him to Japan. They elevated him to superstar status: he appeared on television twice a week and was mobbed as he left his stage door. Typically, he found the whole experience amusing and could not understand what all the fuss was about.

In 1991, one of the organisers of the British Juggling Convention, in Leeds, persuaded him to rush from the cabaret show he was performing in, to the Jugglers Public Show a mile away. Until Robertson arrived, the show had been a light-hearted display by some of the characters from the previous three days of the convention. He brought the house down. The audience, who were all experienced jugglers and street performers, were treated to an act which was the definition of professionalism. Robertson wrote the music and choregraphed his show to perfection. He was given a standing ovation.

Mark Robertson's pleasure in juggling came from sharing it and encouraging others rather than from an egotistical gratification from his expertise. His nonchalant air disguised a private devotion to juggling: his practice schedule often lasted six or seven hours and even in his rest time he could be found throwing objects around, testing how they span or balanced.

Mark Robertson was considered to be the fastest juggler in Europe, but the title did not really mean anything to him. His focus was on professionalism and the grace and beauty of his performance.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Recruitment Genius: Project Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This privately-owned company designs and manuf...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources Officer

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen at th...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders