Clown Workouts - Review & What Happens Next?
Jun 29 2020
After 14 weeks of continuous output spanning the whole of lockdown, Clown Workouts are proud to announce we're taking a little break! Here's a look back through the different phases of our constantly surprising, ever evolving, lockdown clowning project.
March & April: The Clown Workout Videos
For the first 6 weeks, feeling the need to provide play spaces for idiots in isolation, Robyn Hambrook and I created and curated daily mini clown workshops via pre-recorded videos in our facebook group. As we bandied together with our clown-teacher colleagues, rapidly learning how to present clown exercises on film, our world-wide clown community grew to over 1200 members. We asked them what impact the Clown Workouts had had on them and this is what they said:
"Helping feel connected and stay focused. An outlet and an inlet for clown joy."
"It's provided me with an invaluable way to snap back into the fun spirit during the day. I've been using videos as daily warm-ups on those days when I wake up feeling sluggish, and as warm-ups for my webinars"
"Really important to me in those first few weeks as I needed to feel grounded. Plucky, resilient me felt very anxious and it was great to don a red nose and a comforting faux leopard skin dressing gown on a Monday morning."
"A sense of connection, reassurance and togetherness, clown workouts have really helped me with keeping my feet on the ground and head and heart in the clouds, a feeling of positivity and company, and focus in my work."
"It has given me a bit of an emotional lifeline as I watch my plans, industry, and career as I know it become obliterated for the foreseeable future."
May: Zoom Courses, Facebook Lives and Midweek Musings
Feeling a desire from the community for more interactivity, for the next 4 weeks, we decided to focus on creating Zoom clown courses, Facebook Lives and Midweek musings.
Our Zoom clown courses took groups of 12 people through a 4-week journey into the state of clown via meditation, movement exploration, object play, dressing up and playing games. Here's how our participants described the courses:
"An amazing opportunity to spend two hours each week connecting with wonderful people, playing, connecting and being accepted as you are. A guaranteed space to make everything feel okay (despite lockdown)"
"From the comfort of your own home, you will be taken on a grounding and exhilarating journey towards the magic that is your own creative, playful, idiotic self. You will also find yourself unwinding and releasing tension and connecting with both yourself and other wonderful idiots, having an equally silly time."
"A mad romp through your own flat that helps you to become more comfortable being ridiculously silly in your own space with a group of highly enjoyable fools."
"A meditative exercise in improvised silliness that in many ways finds deep humanity beyond the thin technical threads connecting us during this pandemic."
Our Facebook Lives gave us opportunities to explore how to create live interactive content, giving the audience a chance to undergo collective experiences and feed back to us during the recording. (If you'd like to have a look at my FB lives, I've put them all in one place.) Our Midweek Musings gave us a chance to delve deeper into the themes that were surfacing through the Clown Workouts and out in the world. Here are the Midweek Musings for your purusal:
Clowning and Resistance (Robyn)
Raise Your Voice (Robyn)
Welcoming Joy (Holly)
June: More Zoom Courses and A Clown Cabaret on Zoom
Following on from the success of May's Lockdown Clowning courses, we repeated the same course again for two new groups in June.
Many of our May Zoom Clowns let us know in no uncertain terms that they were in no way ready to stop getting their weekly dose of clowning, so Robyn and I devised a 4-week Advanced Lockdown Clowning Course which would equip them with the tools and support to create a clown performance for an invited audience on zoom.
They performed their show last Friday to rapturous applause, guffaws and giggles. We recorded the show and will be releasing footage once we've had a chance to edit it.
What Happens Next?
We have loved being part of a massive, worldwide clown community, discovering together how to clown in the digital realm. As live, interactive theatre practitioners, neither of us ever thought we'd crack virtual clowning, so this has been one massive surprise to both of us. We've both said many times that it's thanks to the strength of our collaboration that we've stayed with it all this time, navigating the glitches and surfing the waves; long live co-facilitation!
Now that the tides are turning and lockdown is easing, we want to know: What Happens Next?
We created a survey is to collect people's thoughts, to help us design our next offerings. If you've enjoyed any aspect of Clown Workouts, please take a moment to tell us about your experiences in this survey. Thanks so much for your time.
Holly and Robyn
If you'd like to read about my other lockdown projects, look no further:Beyond The Ridiculous Online Show