Friday 14 October 2022

What are my intentions when I teach clown?

In a recent workshop I was saying that knowing your intention on stage changes how you impact an audience. Your intention might be to grab attention. To make laugh. Or to create a relationship between clowns.

Then someone asked me what my intentions were. So here are some of my answers:


To simplify clowning and understand how we can get there when we want to

To celebrate laughter and also to allow ourselves not to laugh, inviting us to find a kinder relationship with laughter

To explore how to play our feelings, our interactions with each other in real time

To explore both our honest feelings and responses, and also the fun we can have with faking, pretending and lying – and how the real and the fake play off each other

To honour and to give ourselves places to put our fakeness, our negative judgements, our blockages, our resistances, our failures, our shame

To explore the interaction between what we plan (our scripts: projecting into the future, wondering if people will respond how we want them to) and what actually happens (the performance event: the unpredictable live responses between spectators and performers)



To open the gate to all forms of clowning regardless of ethnicity, culture, identity, family or personality

To challenge the dominant ideology in clowning that excludes and gatekeeps

To dispel mystification in how we speak and think about clown

To acknowledge the power structure already in the workshop between teacher and students

To acknowledge my privilege as a white cis het older male

To be an ally of minoritised identities in the workshop and beyond, using my power and privilege to challenge oppressive behaviour

To explore and share how clowning can reflect on, challenge, play with, or even dismantle our oppressive power structures of capitalism and patriarchy.

To acknowledge clown history and when it has been complicit in oppression

(Thanks to everyone who participated in the recent workshops in North America in Asheville, Savannah, New York and Vancouver, who inspired me to explore further and ask more questions)