Site Responsive Clown Devising Weekend In Pictures
Jul 15 2019
I was commissioned to create and deliver a Site Responsive Clown Devising Weekend Workshop, way back in the rainy days of June. Remember them? Here's a little taste of what happened in words and pictures.
Over the two days, we explored many ways in which we can use our clown's sensitivity to take in inspiration from the world around us and allow it to infiltrate our play.
On the first day, we sat, tuned into our senses, danced, came together as an ensemble and eased into saying yes to our impulses, before spilling out onto the streets of Bristol, where we let life flow through us, taking inspiration from trees, birds, buildings, rain, wind and people. In Cabot Circus, our undercover clowns undertook secret character explorations, following strangers around or gazing at the architecture for inspiration. Back in the room, we brought the characters to life.
Our characters were inspired by: a pigeon, a balloon, the ceiling of Cabot Circus, a small boy, a bike, a mannequin, some moss, the rain and a sausage.
On the second day, we explored the clown's relationship with character, putting together costumes and exploring the question of when does character serve clown play and when does it hinder it? In the afternoon, we took our costumed clown characters out onto the streets again, to discover how they are effected by the world around them. Back in the room, each person performed an improvised solo, inspired by their discoveries.
Pictures and Quotes From The Participants
"You get into your body and find ways to play, developing your creative improvisation skills and imagination. You discover a character by going out into the world and gathering inspiration. You then develop the character and go out as a group to play and perform in public. Finding the games that this character plays. It gives you a structure to devise material for clown performance."
"It's about learning to use some tools to open up your inner natural creativity, and to help you find the flow and learn to be brave in becoming comfortable with vulnerability."
"Inspiration is everywhere!!"
"It was very silly and very deep at the same time."
"Learning how to clown about town! - Taking everything I've learned about clowning up till now and applying it to street performance / walkabout and learning how to create from the world around you."
"Holly curated the weekend so as to ease you in gently to some of the fundamental principles of clowning for example following impulse, feeling permission and freedom to play, focusing on working from the senses and the body rather than from the thinking mind and ones critical inner voice that might otherwise cause us to feel inhibited in following our expression."
"This course produced a lot of material and character but also was simply bags of fun and a good reminder to let your inner child run free from time to time."
"This was fun, playful, perfect."
I really enjoyed creating and running this course, here's some thoughts inspired by the process in no particular order:
- This workshop was a whole lot of fun - I'd like an opportunity to run this course again, mostly because I'd like to share it with more people.
- I loved responding to a request - I'd like to design more workshops to order, it stretched me as a facilitator and I love being stretched.
- I enjoyed offering an advanced weekend workshop (I stopped doing these around 5 years ago, in favour of doing more 5-day courses as a weekend never felt long enough, but this one felt like the right sort of content for a 2-day workshop). Perhaps I'll offer a few more advanced weekends in the future?
- Many of the participants are keen to do a 'part 2' so perhaps there will be an advanced weekend at some point in the future?
- Massive gratitude to the participants for wholeheartedly jumping into this adventure with me. Keep on clowning!