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Weekend Workshops

Clowning #4: Clowning and Theatre

3rd-4th February 2024

Venue: Bold Elephant, 21 St.George’s Road, London SE1 6ES

Cost: £130 per weekend

Time: 10am-4pm Saturday and Sunday

To book your place, email for details on how to enrol

Maximum: 18 participants per workshop


Clowning #4 - Clowning and Theatre

Protagonists and Intruders

This practical workshop explores clowns as both protagonists and intruders upon the stage. As creators and destroyers of meaning and of worlds. As dramatic figures who collide and harmonise with each other through their ridiculous desires, hopes and fears.


Using exercises and games specifically designed for these purposes, we will look at:


  • Clowns as intruders upon the well-made and meaningful play

  • Clowns as masters of ceremony and owners of the stage

  • Clowns as protagonists of the play with something to say

  • Clown drama: roles and dynamics

  • Scripted clowning


There’s nothing new about clowning in theatres, spaces that clowns have inhabited across their history. In our own times, theatre spaces often generate expectations of meaning and profundity, or ‘having something to say’. But then some clowns appear to have ‘nothing to say’, except perhaps for saying that meaning is ridiculous! On the other hand, some clowns appear to speak truth.


Which are you?


To complicate things still further, clowns on stage can co-exist with ‘serious actors’, and seemingly in different modes of performance at the same time. Furthermore, clowns might be scripted into a play, or given free rein to intrude upon the narrative and across the fourth wall. Whole aesthetic movements like the theatre of the absurd or the epic theatre of Brecht have borrowed and stolen from clowns. Finally, today we find theatre shows made up entirely of clowning.

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