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London Clown School Three-Week Course

Dates: 13th-31st May 2024

Venue: Longfield Hall, 50 Knatchbull Road, London SE5 9QY

www.longfieldhall.org.uk

Cost: 

£900 (payment in full)

£1,050 (payment in three instalments of £350)

£350 per single week

(Please see cancellation policy below on this page)

Times:

Week 1: Monday 13th – Friday 17th May, 10am-4pm

Week 2: Monday 20th - Friday 24th May, 10am-4pm

Week 3: Monday 27th – Friday 31st May, 11.30am-5.30pm

Email info@jondavison.net for details on how to enrol

Maximum: 18 participants per workshop

The Three-Week CLown Course will take place in the wonderful space at Longfield Hall https://www.facebook.com/LongfieldHal

The Three-Week Clown Course starts with the fundamentals of clowning and works towards creating your own clown performance in the way that suits you and performing it in the place that suits you.

 

We begin with the dynamics of clowning: when we present ourselves as ridiculous for each other’s own amusement, and when we laugh (or don’t laugh) at each other.

 

​We then look at how to make sure the material you create really works for you. There are countless practical ways of devising material appropriate for your clowning. This fuses a personal approach to your clowning together with taking care to set up and structure your performance.

 

What’s my plan? And how do I perform now what I planned earlier? – keeping your in-the-moment responsiveness while performing an already created piece.

 

In the third week, we will create unique clown performances that work for you, in the style that suits you best. Whatever your ‘formal’ experience, clowning is something many of have done throughout our lives in informal or social situations, and our experiences will differ widely according to our backgrounds, cultures, and identities.

 

The course will end with a public performance of participants’ newly created clowning. Depending on your style of clowning, you may choose to present your performance in other settings: in an outdoor setting, in a specific site, online, at home, one-to-one, etc. there are no rules about where or for whom we should clown!

Week 2 – Creating Clowning

3. Skills and Unskills – Being (Un)impressive

4. Clowns in the Theatre – Being Meaningful/less

Week 1 – Training Clowning

1. Feeling and Laughter – I (Don’t) Feel Funny / That Was(n’t) Funny

2. Performing Clowning – That Was Supposed To Be funny

Week 1 covers the fundamentals of clowning in a similar way to the two separate workshops Clowning #1 and Clowning #2.

Week 2 covers how to create clown performance in a similar way to the two separate workshops Clowning #3 and Clowning #4.

Week 3 – Performing Clowning

5. Creating Performance – However You Want to Clown

6. Performing Your Clowning – Wherever You Want to Clown

Week 3 is all about you creating your own clown performance in the way that suits you and performing it in the place that suits you.

Week 1 –Training Clowning

 

Feeling and Laughter – “I (Don’t) Feel Funny / That Was(n’t) Funny”

“How do I get into the mood for clowning? How do I get over not being funny?”

 

The fundamental dynamics of clowning: when we present ourselves as ridiculous for each other’s own amusement, and when we laugh (or don’t laugh) at each other.

 

Clowns have a unique relationship with laughter. Laughter is the fulcrum upon which clowning balances. Laughter does amazing things to us, physically, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually. Whilst we are immersed in it, it seems to relieve us of the burdens of norms, expectations and even meaning itself. What a relief!

 

When you really look, most things are ridiculous: our bodies, our movements, our ideas, our emotions, our words, our relationships, the universe. We don’t need to change ourselves, just look at everything from another perspective. It’s a human thing to do, so anyone can do it.

 

We will experiment with how you, as a performer, respond to that response from the onlooker. How do you behave, feel or think when the spectator laughs, or does not laugh? Indeed, how do you behave, feel or think upon the mere appearing in front of that audience whose expectations are already formed?

 

Performing Clowning – “That Was Supposed To Be funny”

“What’s my plan? And how do I perform now what I planned earlier?”

 

​We will explore in depth the material you create to clown with and the relationship with the in-the-moment performance.

 

What’s my plan? - what and how to plan, create, devise what you’re going to clown with

 

How do I perform now what I planned earlier? – keeping your in-the-moment responsiveness while performing an already created piece.

 

We shall be looking at how to make sure the material you create really works for you. There are countless practical ways of devising material appropriate for your clowning. Awareness of and understanding of these is far preferable to just a single idea will survive the real stage situation. ​This work fuses a personal approach to your clowning together with taking care to set up and structure your performance.

 

Week 1 covers the fundamentals of clowning in a similar way to the two separate workshops Clowning #1 and Clowning #2.

Week 2 – Creating Clowning

 

Skills and Unskills – “Being (Un)impressive”

How can we bring together your own particular stupidity and craziness with the things you do well? Do you have ‘recognised skills’ like music or dance? Or eccentric abilities with no ‘value’ such as waggling your ears, or burping on cue to entertain your friends at a party. Or are you ‘skill-less’ and seemingly devoid of all talent?

  

In the second week we will draw on your own particular ways of doing things well and badly, in order to explore how to create clown performance:

  

  • what makes your abilities ridiculous?

  • generating clown performance material: wrongness, disruption, surprise

  • clown scripting: structures, formats, paths

 

By the end of this week, you will hopefully have an idea of

  • how your particular kind of clowning works

  • how to generate clown material that works for you

 

Clowns in the Theatre – “Being Meaningful/less”

 

We will explore clowns as both protagonists and intruders upon the performance. 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 masters of ceremony and owners of the stage

  • Clowns as protagonists of the play with something to say

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

  • Clown drama: roles and dynamics

 

Some clowns appear to be full of meaning and profundity, ‘having something to say’, speaking truth. But then others appear to have ‘nothing to say’, except perhaps for saying that meaning is ridiculous! Some clowns exist alone, some in groups, some co-exist with other kinds of ‘serious’ performers. What will work best for you?

 

Week 2 covers how to create clown performance in a similar way to the two separate workshops Clowning #3 and Clowning #4.

 

 

Week 3 – Performing Clowning

 

Week 3 is all about you creating your own clown performance in the way that suits you and performing it in the place that suits you.

 

Creating Performance – “However You Want to Clown”

Whatever your ‘formal’ experience, clowning is something many of have done throughout our lives in informal or social situations, and our experiences will differ widely according to our backgrounds, cultures, and identities. We already know a lot about clowning before we ever set foot in a class or on a stage. All of this knowledge is welcome, without the need for aesthetic unity or discipline.

 

In the third week, we will create unique clown performances that work for you, in the style that suits you best.

 

Performing Your Clowning – “Wherever You Want to Clown”

 

The course will end with a public performance of participants’ newly created clowning. Depending on your style of clowning, you may choose to present your performance in other settings: in an outdoor setting, in a specific site, online, at home, one-to-one, etc. there are no rules about where or for whom we should clown!

Payments 

Please send an email to info@jondavison.net (or the workshop organiser if stated) and I will send you details of how to pay.

 

Cancellations

 

I do not usually refund payments made (either whole or part payments) but I can offer you:

  1. The chance to use your payment towards a course or workshop at a later date within one year of the original courser.

  2. If the workshop fills up and there is a waiting list, you may receive a refund if your place is taken by someone on the waiting list.

 

These options can only be taken if 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.

What they said... some experiences of workshop participants)

 

I want to share with you that for me personally, I experienced deep joy every day. I woke up crying with happiness and thankfulness Saturday morning. It has been decades since I’ve felt so much lightness and joy…. I am breaking out of my own mental prison.  Yippeeeee! I hope to share the clown spirit with others. Thank you for being you.

 

Thank you Jon. Some takeaways and things I really appreciated and enjoyed: your honesty, practicing laugh and silence awareness, listening for laughter if my “funny idea” fails, moving when there is silence (dealing with on stage emotions), so many ways to clown, useful grounding tools, being less abstract or storyish, clowning within a script, the individual and group feedback was very useful. 

 

I felt safe, curious and open to try things. It is great how you see the clown in us and genuinely desire to magnify it. Your honesty and interest in each of us is apparent. Jon you are full of life and experience and it is beautiful that you are teaching/sharing at such a reasonable rate. I would take your workshop again because I know I can get more out of it each time. I highly recommend. What a great group of folks you draw in, hope to have you in Reno one day soon. Cheers (Audry Townsell, Los Angeles, 2023)

 

Oh my goodness, Prof. Davison!!

Your class is really fucking hitting home… I understand the value of doing what’s real, responding to what’s real in the room!

Your class is the class that just keeps giving, even after its conclusion.  I am very pleasantly surprised.  Already in one day, I am applying so much to my “real” life. Fascinating!

(Mona Hanouni, Los Angeles 2023)

 

Jon is a brilliant teacher and is able to bring out courage in people by focusing on the tasks of exploration rather than getting something "right". Jon welcomes all human interactions, interruption, confusion, and questions. Play is not limited to simply saying "yes". There is an excellent introspectiveness set from the beginning without it becoming paralyzing. Where all feelings are correct.

(Andy Ross, Bristol 2023)

 

Not having any previous experience in clowning or theatre, I was quite apprehensive and I really had no idea what to expect. Jon led the workshop through fun and engaging games which loosened me up and I managed to let go, and to just go for it quite quickly. Everyone was easy going and really nice to hang out with and you find yourself getting to know each other quickly. I found the workshop gave me a lot more than I had anticipated, giving me more confidence in my day to day life. I definitely recommend checking Jon's workshops out, it's a win-win situation.

(Paul Gadd, Bristol 2023)

 

This was an active, fun, funny weekend.  Lots of laughs and many varied stimulating activities to reveal the clown. Works well for experienced performers and brave beginners!

(Helen Herman, Bristol 2023)

 

“It has deffo been a challenge to come to terms with life outside of the glow of clown school. (but I guess life has to change as a result!)

 

It was wonderful! I'm still pretty new to performing, and I was worried about feeling too out of depth, but the whole thing felt so natural and logical (and novel in a massively exciting way)- which I think was very much down to the delicate way that you taught, (and how unified (most of) the group was). I was blown away by the line you managed to tread between letting us discover things and guidance. How open you were and the levels of honesty it felt like we reached, without being brutal.

 

It was certainly the most generous teaching I have had the pleasure to experience in my life. Within this environment, I felt safe (and compelled) to explore myself in places I had never known myself to be before. And I watched other people do the same. This felt like unlocking a new voice that had been dormant inside of me.

 

I have found within the ideas and philosophy of your teaching of clowning a new clarity in thinking around ideas I have been stuck with for a long time. Including ways of thinking about my own painting practice that has been in a consistent struggle with its relationship (or lack of) to an audience.” (Jessie, London)

 

“Your workshop (including your philosophical musings within) touched me in a deep way. For a while I have been feeling confused and wrongly accused by feedback about how I need to "think less and do more" or "follow my impulses", and also unhappy about my unpleasant experiences working in a group, and while of course you wouldn't know all of these going-ons and they are not "solved" or anything, I think my confidence took a hit from these experiences and in your workshop I felt a sense of relief, self-acceptance and an acceptance from others.

 

I felt so moved especially when you were talking about how we spend all this time trying to make people do things when each of us is our own person, but also your general approach of encouraging us to give observations (instead of judging statements) of each person's actions/words/expressions, and accepting our varied interpretations as valid.

 

I think this environment was also created when you told us to just chill when we have nothing we want to test for a reaction (it's so stressful to feel like we gotta do something all the time and the framing of "testing for a reaction" is really useful!), and when you encouraged us to try new ways of being in the space when we're just not feeling it.

 

I found the workshop to be an excellent introduction to a perspective on clowning that is freeing and clear. What I found to be the greatest strength was that the exercises were paced and scaffolded well such that they were do-able (really made the atmosphere encouraging instead of disappointing) and delivered the intended learning within the day itself (no need to wander and wonder until the day we mysteriously get 'it'). The language you used was clear and avoided misunderstandings/confusion, and the goals of the exercise were never hidden from us for no good reason (as in, you were clear on what we didn't need to do and what we needed to do, and there were no annoying surprises).

 

Oh, and I really felt so tickled by the idea of imaginary clowning which you classified someone’s clowning examples as -- it's been on my mind and a source of inspiration. I love it.” (Jia Min, Singapore)

 

“I find your teaching style is very concise and to the point, yet you are still sensitive to peoples emotions during the workshops. To kickstart was a rigorous name learning game, again, rigorous – I could name everyone in the room within two minutes. This is so important, I have been to other workshops that do not focus on this and it really does have an impact throughout the workshops so thank you. It is clear that your knowledge of Clowning is substantial and thorough, which guided us and gave factual information to back up the practice throughout. I also find it fascinating that you are able to join in with laughter in the audience- we are still funny to you! You are professional and clear, yet very much up for having a good time as well and this shows." (Beth, London)

My first clowning teacher Jon Davison conducting a workshop across the continent. His lessons gently tame my rigid imagination and creativity, allowing me to draw spark inspiration from the little scenes of life. It would be great if as many people in our country could have access to this interesting field as they wish. Woah I have so much to study...! (Soleá Soyoung Kim, Korea, 2021)

 

“I am trying to explain why the set up of the clowning classes work for me. I thought it was “because I get no assignments”. But I actually do. I think it is because I don’t feel judged.” (Rosemarijn Dumont, Care Clown, Belgium, 2020)

 

“Jon invites us through a door into the agility of our imagination. His ideas and exercises are simple, playful, whimsical, and work in deep moment-to-moment awareness. But please look around at other online miracles as I don’t want this one to get over crowded.(Peter Shub, Clown, USA/Germany, 2020)

“I played my first small solo and managed to apply some of the ingredients of your method.

It was fun! And it worked! The feedback I got:

•You seemed very relaxed in stage

•There was always laughter

•It was so stupid!

•Really funny

•The audience always felt safe and recognized.

So, I wanted to say thank you and that your method produces something pleasurable for both the performer and the audience.” (Tobi Tambornino, Germany)

 

“Thank you for the brilliant course. It was wonderful in every way – personally challenging without any terror attached, mind opening, fear conquering. I think everyone should do a clown course to better understand themselves and others. And particularly do yours.” (Dr Dea Birkett, Ringmaster and leader of Circus250)

 

“Jon is a brilliant teacher!” (Dani Tonks, Wild Play Lab, London)

"Jon is the best teacher I have ever had, and I am a very picky person. He is like the rain that gently falls onto the earth, softly moistens the grass and encourages every plant to grow at their own pace. He never judges people and gives a lot of freedom. He makes scaffolds and you will find yourself making progress and achieving more than you have expected. The way he inspired me definitely boosted my self-confidence and stimulated my creativity. Now I know myself better and I love myself more. Last but not least, all the happiness and silliness you will experience in his clowning course is the medicine for life! We all had so much fun!” (Jingxian Mei, Clown Foundation Course 2018)

 

"You won't know when you start a clown course what you will discover ... with Jon Davison he makes it wholly about your journey, supportive and a true guide. He has specific and helpful ideas, which he clearly communicates, even more, he has a genuine capacity to facilitate your learning. People say he’s a clown teacher genius. I am saying this too, although I have only experienced 8 other clown teachers. I never want to leave the London Clown School … that’s why I am so happy to keep getting it wrong (this is a bad clown joke)!” (Justine Smith)

 

"If you can make it and were thinking of going, just go. It's amazing." (Caitlin Day - Nottingham Clown Course)

"I loved how you de-emphasized the individual clown- which has always felt like a difficult way in for me. It was fascinating to see how we arrived at many of the core concepts in clown in a much more intuitive and felt way." (Rebecca Stevens Royal Central School of Speech and Drama)

"thank you so much for all the laughs and the experiences so far...it’s a wonderful class and I’m very grateful to you and the group for the sheer joy of it all. Thanks for sharing your superb gifts and teaching”(Mark Denham - London Clown School student)

"Thanks again for a great workshop! This was my first clowning experience - ever. The workshop made me explore and discover so many new things as an actress and about myself as a person. Learning to laugh at oneself more, and just letting yourself be more stupid, as silly or simple as it sounds, is so rewarding. When you feel idiotic on stage, the audience feels it, they laugh, and you’ve done your job. I would highly recommend this workshop to anyone wanting to extend their acting style, or just experience the art of clowning  - you won’t regret it." (Jazzara Jaslyn, actress, Cape Town)

"What a ridiculously funny and informative workshop!" (Nathalie Codsi, Brighton clown student)

The workshop was fantastic, one of the best things I’ve done since I arrived in England … I am definitely laughing much more and much harder since the workshop!” (Dror Latan, Circomedia student)

 

“Great fun and a very good learning experience” (Katherine Steer, Brighton clown student)

“I really enjoy your teaching approach... I felt I was eased into the session nicely (as I was a little nervous), but toward the end I felt like we were digging deeper. It was a nice gradient!” (Jenny Haufek, Brighton clown performer and student)

"Some of the most illuminating and enjoyable workshops I've done (and I'm addicted to the things)" (Jonathan Richardson, producer of House of Idiot Comedy Club, and London Clown School student) 

 

"Jon Davison is a great clown teacher" (Lucy Hopkins, freelance physical theatre performer and creator)

 

"I wish I was in London to do this, the man's a genius!!" (Klara Van Wyk, clown student and performer, South Africa)

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