Clowning and Covid Update

Sep 06 2021

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: Holly on Port Talbot Beach by Joe Rosser

Hello dear reader,

Here's a little COVID update to let you know where I'm at with the workshops.

I'm getting a lot of requests for my in-person Introduction To Clowning Weekend. This makes my heart sing as I used to love teaching this course!

Here's what I know - I haven't started hosting my own in-person clowning or fooling workshops again since the pandemic, as I haven't quite figured out how to make it safe in the current conditions. So much of my work is about releasing breath as a way of accessing and expressing emotions. If I cut the breath release, we lose the heart of the work!

Back in June, I held a conversation looking for solutions with a group of improvisers at a Devoted and Disgruntled Open Space event, you can read about what we discussed here.

I have since had many opportunities to try some of these solutions out, through taking on a range of in-person consultancy for theatre companies, you can read about those here. With smaller groups, clear boundaries and a lot of support from the companies, I've been able to experiment with different ways of working. Clarity is coming, but it's taking time.

In the meantime, I have been writing a book about facilitation (thanks to Arts Council England) which has led to developing a new in-person and online facilitation training called The Well-Held Space. This course is designed to work in the current conditions and allows me to begin a new chapter for Holly Stoppit Workshops in a post-Covid world.

Alongside the facilitation training, I'm offering online and in person one-to-one Creative Consultancy for artists, facilitators, theatre makers, therapists and researchers.

The pandemic gave me so many opportunities to reinvent myself. I'm so grateful to have had so many chances to learn how to teach online with Robyn Hambrook, as one half of The Online Clown Academy. We devised and co-facilitated a series of Zoom courses and ran two incredible online conferences, Clowns In Crisis and Clowning Out of Chaos. We connected with an international throng of clowns through our events and facebook group, The Online Clown Academy

I also got to learn about digital and hybrid performance alongside my company Beyond the Ridiculous, we performed two improvised shows, Voices of Lockdown, Live and Unleashed and The New "Normal," thanks to The Wardrobe Theatre and Arts Council England for their generous support.

My work is changing, I am changing, the world is changing. Will I ever go back to running my beloved clowning and fooling workshops? At this point, I really don't know. But watch this space and sign up to my newsletter at the bottom of this page to find out.

Love and laughter,

Holly x

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