When Holly met Franki
Apr 27 2020
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of interviewing my wonderfool fooling teacher, Franki Anderson for Clown Power Live.
We chatted about the origins of Franki’s practice, explored how fooling differs from clowning and discussed what the archetype of the Fool can teach us all.
Here's the recording:
Franki has spent her life developing a way of working which can liberate and cultivate natural creativity. She has been researching The Fool for over 20 years. Through this work she has transformed and promoted a deeper understanding of the archetype and developed a contemporary theatre art form based on improvisation.
Franki originally trained at the Laban Art of Movement Studio under Lisa Ullman. Along her way she has explored Commedia dell’Arte, Circus skills, Mime, Clown, Acrobatics, Storytelling, Improvisation, the theatre of Augusto Boal, Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais Movement, Tai Chi, Reiki, and Movement-Therapy.
She has also toured extensively with her own solo shows and with companies working in a wide variety of theatre forms from street to film. She was at the forefront of the street theatre movement in the 70’s and 80’s. Using mime and physical theatre to communicate with audiences, overcoming the limitations of language. Franki has been described as secretly famous. She has eschewed the normal career trajectory to follow ‘The Fool’s Path’.
In 1986 Franki co-founded Fooltime, Britain’s first centre for Circus Skills and Performing Arts and subsequently created ‘The Empty Space’ theatre research studio in 1995 and co-founded ‘Act Of Life’ productions in 1998 to facilitate and manage fools projects, workshops and shows.
Holly Stoppit is a facilitator, performance skills teacher, theatre director and dramatherapist. She specialises in live, interactive, improvised and devised performance. At the heart of all of Holly’s work is a desire to promote creative discovery and connection through play.
Holly began training with Franki Anderson over 20 years ago and has been developing her own version of Fooling ever since. Holly is artistic director of Beyond The Ridiculous, an ensemble of solo fools who regularly train and perform together at The Wardrobe Theatre in Bristol, UK
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 in April 2020: 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 patreon.com/zoological. Suggested donation £5 a month. Buy Dave a coffee and a piece of cake.
Holly was a panelist in the first episode of series one, about female clowns - to see that video, click here.
Holly also chaired the Clowning, Circus and Mental Health debate, series one, episode 7 - to see that video, click here.