Devising Clown for Performance
Every Thursday at London Clown School
Devising Clown for Performance - Thursday classes
Enrolment now open for Devising Course
16th Jan - 2nd April 2020
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Venue: Fourth Monkey, 97-101 Seven Sisters Road, London N7 7QP
Cost: £180 (whole 12-week term); £80 (5 classes); £65 (4 classes); £18 (1 class)
EARLY BIRD PRICE before 1st December 2019 - £140
Max. no. of participants: 20
Current course running
26th Sept - 19th Dec 2019
To enrol, please email:
Payments in advance are valid for the term.
This workshop is aimed at those who want to develop their clown performance skills, either developing new ideas or re-working existing material. We focus on preparing material for performance. If you have ideas or material you want to work on, please bring them to the Clown Devising class on Thursdays. But you don't have to have ideas in order to come to the class, as we spend half the time devising new stuff, and the other half on what people bring.
What are the devising workshops held every Thursday all about?
Personally, I especially love working on material which has flopped miserably when first shared with an audience. There is always a way out and I love finding the key to that door!
The situation you will encounter in a class will in a sense be the quintessential clown situation: presenting bits of prepared performance in front of others, things that were ‘supposed to be funny’, but you will of course not know what will happen in reality. We may laugh, or we may not! Ideally, what was clearly supposed to be funny but isn’t will then provoke our laughter. The famous ‘flop’. So presenting something prepared that is supposed to be funny really is the quickest route to clowning. Forget about improvisation, play or trying to find yourself, and just respond to the audience’s response to you.
The hallmarks of these sessions are about bringing together: the silliness, stupidity and craziness of each individual, a knowledge of the dynamics of the clown-audience relationship, with careful crafting and composition of performance material.
Clowning isn’t just bunging an idea that worked in a workshop on stage and hoping for inspiration.
Clowning isn’t just pretending you’re playing or improvising.
Clowning is a craft, a set of conventions, an artform.
Just because you had a spiritual experience in a workshop doesn’t mean that audiences will like you.
London Clown School brings tradition and craft back to contemporary clowning, from where it has been exiled for half a century, at the hands of an over-enthusiastic faith in truth and the inner self.
London Clown School looks for a fusion between old and new clowning, taking care to pay attention to the set-up, the conditions, the contract, the conventions, as well as each individual’s own stupidity.
Above all, London Clown School aims to avoid the pitfalls of performer training, and not assume that what works in a workshop will work for the public.
It’s all very well experiencing clowning in a workshop situation, where the teacher sets up the frame and conditions, but quite another matter when you come to perform in front of audiences out there in public.
Something else is required. Other kinds of comic performers habitually spend a lot of time and effort on ‘material’. Stand-up comedians worry over joke structure, sketch comedians search for strong premises for their ideas. Why should clowns be different? Popular misconceptions suppose that clowns just get up there and are funny just by being true to their inner selves. But looking inside yourself won’t really save you.
There are countless practical ways of devising material appropriate for your clowning. Awareness of and understanding of these is far preferable to just hoping the clown you ‘found’ will survive the real stage situation. These forms and structures of clown material also derive from simple notions of what clowns actually do.
Please send an email to and I will send you details of how to pay.
I do not refund payments made (either whole or part payments) but I can offer you the chance to use your payment towards a course or workshop at a later date within one year of the original courser. This can only be done once and must be requested at least 48 hours before the start of a course or workshop. If you cancel within 24 hours or do not turn up without notification then you should pay any outstanding fee.
This policy is to protect the viability of courses, whose costs and numbers of participants need to be confirmed in advance.
I try to keep all prices as low as possible (I haven’t forgotten how difficult it can be to be a student). That’s why there is a single price, with no discounts or concessionary rates.