Clowning, Circus and Mental Health

Apr 20 2020

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: Joe Rosser: Holly Stoppit on the Isle of Skye

Yesterday, I chaired a Clown Power Live panel discussion about Clowning, Circus and Mental Health.

The panel discussed clowning, circus and mental health and the impact these have on each other. We explored how clowning and circus can make a positive difference to the mental health of its audience and how our own mental health, as performers, teachers, facilitators and therapists can impact our creative process and vice versa.

Here's the recording of the debate:

About the panel

Bash Seagull

Seagull Ringleader Bash is the founder of The Flying Seagull Project. Bash and his crew share circus, clown, play and laughter in conflict zones, refugee camps and with communities in crisis around the world.

Jamie Wood

Jamie has been making all sorts of different theatre for 20 years. The last 10 years he’s made and toured internationally a trilogy of solo autobiographical clown shows that look at masculinity, sharing a life, and where we find roots. All of his shows are a search for rituals that don’t exist in his culture in the UK.

 Social media: @jamieofthewood

Martin Gill

Martin is a Psychodramatist and Dramatherapist working with individuals, couples and groups. Previously involved in Bouffon clowning workshop as participant and facilitator. Spontaneity clowning work and street theatre director.

Sue Brent (AKA: Spannergirl)

Sue spent 20 years performing in Circus and more recently teaching Circus skills for 6 years as Trapeze Therapist at Brookfield Primary School and Acland Burghley Secondary School. She’s also spent 10 years at MIND as a Volunteer/service user and is currently group facilitator for Hearing Voices at MIND UK.

Suzy Harvey

Suzy is a Specialist in Joy and Connection. Suzy holds spaces where people can laugh, play, dance and connect. She’s a Giggle Doctor in children’s hospitals, hosts “Everybody Friendly Screenings” of old films and leads Laughter Yoga sessions online.

ZooLogical Team

Sascha Goslin

Is an independent producer, focusing on outdoor work, circus and accessible shows. When not producing she can be found studying clown, puppetry and… accountancy.


Is a greybeard circus performer. He produces zoom video webinars. He started performing in The Amazing Mendezies, a comedy double act in Covent Garden, London in 1981. He co-founded circus theatre company Ra-Ra Zoo in 1984. He holds the world record for spinning 108 dinner plates at once and started a new career as a circus community builder last week; he says he’s been training for the role all his life.

Dave also curates the Clown Power discussion group on facebook since 2012, now with over 3,000 members.

Please, do support Clown Power Live and Dave at Suggested donation £5 a month. Buy Dave a coffee and a piece of cake. 

All previous episodes of Clown Power Live are at the ZooLogical youtube channel and on the Zoological website.

Holly was a panelist in the first episode, about female clowns - to see that video, click here.

Holly got to interview her Fooling teacher, Franki Anderson for series 2, episode 1. To see that video, click here.

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