Clowning Out Of Chaos Conference

Apr 05 2021

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: Clowning Out Of Chaos Conference Poster - image by Jeremy Fennell, design by Robyn Hambrook

The Online Clown Academy proudly presents their second online conference: 

Clowning Out Of Chaos

As we start to emerge, blinking, into this new post-coronavirus world, we’re asking:

- How can we clown with chaos?

- How can clowning help us move beyond chaos and create the world we want to live in?

Over the weekend of Friday 21 - Sunday 23 May 2021, we'll be offering an online programme of workshops, performances, a panel discussion and an Open Space event, to explore the personal and political applications of clowning in chaotic times.

Who is it for? 

Clowns, performers, activists, therapists, teachers, students, clown doctors, applied drama / improvisation practitioners, researchers, artists, dreamers and anyone who needs more play and laughter in their lives.

How does it work? 

The conference takes place on Zoom. You can sign up for as many sessions as you like throughout the weekend. We will send your Zoom links in the week running up to the conference. 

We are totally unfunded and joyfully committed to providing virtual spaces for whoever is called to meet, play and discuss the theme of clowning with chaos, so we are offering everything on a donations basis. 

  • Pay what you can. Whatever you choose to donate is very gratefully received.
  • Suggested donation per session: £11-£20 waged / £6-£10 low income / £1-£5 no income. 


All times listed are UK  / London. To find out the time in your timezone, try this handy time converter.

Info about facilitators below event descriptions,

To go direct to ticket link, click here.

Friday 21 May, 8-9.30pm

The Clowning Out of Chaos Cabaret

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: Clowning Out Of Chaos Cabaret

An incredible, international gaggle of clowns perform a selection of unique solo clown pieces, born from their personal experiences and/or political values. 

To kick off the Clowning Out of Chaos Conference, we welcome you to the culmination of The Online Clown Academy’s six week advanced Zoom Clown course: Personal and Political Clown Performance. These adventurous students have played their way through a series of Zoom Clown courses throughout the pandemic, under the expert guidance of UK-based clown teachers Holly Stoppit and Robyn Hambrook. This final advanced course has drawn on Holly’s therapeutic clowning methods and Robyn’s rebel clown experience to support the students to create and perform their own material just for you!

Warning: this show might make you laugh, cry, or take to the streets in red-nosed rebellion!

Saturday 22 May, 2.30-3pm

Laughter Yoga Warm Up with Suzy Harvey*

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: Laughter Yoga Warm Up

As clowns & laughter bringers, we deserve to laugh too, right?

To bring us into a playful, grounded state ahead of the afternoon workshop, Suzy will gently guide us into laughing together. We’ll wake up the body, breathe deeply and begin to connect. 

You don’t need to bring anything except your willingness and your open mind and heart. It might be a bit weird, but don’t worry, we’ll go gently. Our only aim is to have a lovely time together.  Previous participants describe feeling energised, yet calmer, centred, motivated and creative after laughing together.

Saturday 22 May, 3.30-5pm 

Taster Workshop: Holly Stoppit's Mindful Play Inquiry*

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: Mindful Play Inquiry Taster Workshop

A practical investigation into mindfulness, play and reflection as a support for chaotic times. Throughout 2021 Holly has been writing her Handbook of Mindful Play for group leaders, with support from Arts Council England. This workshop will draw on her research and practice, offering frameworks to explore playful approaches to embracing the beautiful chaos of being human.

Saturday 22 May, 7.30 – 9pm

Panel discussion - Clowning Out Of Chaos

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: Clowning Out Of Chaos Panel Discussion

Holly Stoppit will chair a discussion on the conference theme, Clowning Out Of Chaos, exploring how we might clown with our personal chaos and how clowning might be a useful way of dealing with the chaos in the world. We’ll be joined by four panelists, all specialists in personal and political applications of clowning, for a hearty discussion. Our panelists are:

  • Amrita Dhaliwal, Devising Artist, Comedian, Educator (LA)
  • Jay Jordan, Artist Activist (France)
  • Jeff Gordon, Performance Activist and Therapeutic Clown and Dramathrapist (Israel)
  • Suzy Harvey, Specialist in Joy and Connection (UK)

For more info about the panelists, see this blog.

Sunday 23 May. 2.30-3pm

Laughter Yoga Warm Up with Suzy Harvey*

(details as Saturday)

Sunday 23 May, 3.30-5pm

Taster Workshop: Robyn Hambrook's Activist Clown Toolkit*

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: Activist Clown Toolkit Taster Workshop

A playful and insightful investigation into how to use clowning as a form of political expression. Robyn draws on her ongoing specialist research, informed by collaborations with international clowns and activists through her successful workshop series; The Activist Clown Toolkit.

This taster session will introduce some of the key elements of her embodied practice including clown play, ensemble work and improvisation alongside theory and historic perspectives to highlight how the clown can be used as a powerful tool for resistance and change

Sunday 23 May, 6.30 - 9pm 

Open Space Discussion

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: Open Space Discussion

The Online Clown Academy invites everyone who is inspired by our theme of Clowning Out Of Chaos to come together in an Open Space session. 

Open Space is a wonderful organic conferencing system where whoever turns up sets the agenda. After an introduction to Open Space Technology, we’ll be opening the Zoom breakout rooms, so that you can have a chance to split into small groups and explore whatever feels most relevant to you, personally or professionally. You will need to be there for the beginning of the session to find out how it all works, but after the first half hour, you’re free to come and go as you wish.

To read more about how open space works, see this blog.

About The Online Clown Academy & conference facilitators

The Online Clown Academy (TOCA) was originally created by Holly Stoppit and Robyn Hambrook as a space for clowns of all ages and all stages of their clown evolution to meet, play, connect and share their creative hilarity during the coronavirus pandemic of 2020. 

We held our first online conference, Clowns In Crisis, in November 2020, attracting a worldwide gaggle of clowns to come together to play, learn, laugh and share. It was very well received and started many new conversations and collaborations.

About Holly Stoppit

Holly Stoppit is a facilitator, clowning and fooling teacher, dramatherapist and theatre director, specialising in live, interactive, improvised and devised performance. 

Holly creates and delivers unique performance skills / self-development training courses and is a freelance facilitator / director / creative consultant offering bespoke services for professional theatre companies, community organisations, universities, businesses and individual artists. 

Holly is artistic director of solo improvisation company, Beyond The Ridiculous. At the heart of all of Holly’s work is a desire to promote creative discovery and connection through play. More about Holly.

About Robyn Hambrook

Robyn is a director, teacher, performer and clown. With 20 years experience, her passions lie in street arts, circus, clowning and activism. Her work is political, challenges societal norms and grounded in a deep concern for our planet’s future.

Since 2018 she has been exploring the meeting point of activism and clowning through her Masters Research ‘Small Circus Acts of Resistance’, in Extinction Rebellion protests, and on the streets with the Bristol Rebel Clowns. Her research continues online working with international collaborators in the field of clowning and activism. Check out Robyn's website.

About Suzy Harvey

Suzy  Harvey is a specialist in joy and connection. Over this last year, Suzy has become a pro at seeking out ways to laugh through the chaos, through online laughter yoga. It has kept her spirit, creativity, productivity and soul alive over the pandemic. Before COVID-19 she worked as a Giggle Doctor in children’s hospitals & hosted interactive, inclusive screenings of old musicals. 

Suzy’s main goal in life is to create spaces where people feel safe and confident to express themselves, have fun, be their wonderful selves and feel good. More info about Suzy.

*A note about the workshops

  • Laughter Yoga, Mindful Play and the Activist Clown Toolkit sessions are all experiential workshops - please be prepared to join in.
  • Because they are participatory workshops it's useful for the facilitators, and the other participants, to be able to see everyone - please keep your cameras on. 
  • Laughter yoga is a 30 minute journey and Holly and Robyn's workshops are 1.5 hour journeys - please commit to attending the whole session
  • Everything in these workshops is an invitation - you are welcome to adapt it to suit your body, mood and energy levels. Your facilitator will do all they can to keep you safe, but you are ultimately responsible for your own experience.

To book your tickets for the Clowning Out of Chaos Conference, click here

To stay in the loop, like our Facebook page, join our facebook group, find the conference Facebook event or sign up to Holly Stoppit’s mailing list at the bottom of this page.

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