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The Activist Clown Toolkit With Robyn Hambrook

Robyn Hambrook & expert clowns & activists explore activism & change through clowning, using discussion, play, experimentation & reflection.

The second season of this hugely popular course, with an all-new cast of guest clowns & activists. Our Feb 2021 course sold out in days.

Welcome to our second co-lab series, building on Robyn Hambrook’s continued research and playful investigation into how to use clowning for political activism. This series of masterclasses with expert clowns & activists will use discussion, play, experimentation and reflection to explore a big bunch of questions including:
• Can clowns be political?
• How can clowns challenge authority?
• What can we borrow from activists, art movements and theatre forms to increase our efficacy?
• What can we learn from clown history and from the clowns who’ve dedicated their lives to playing on the front lines?
• Is the clown equipped to deal with power and make real change?

Robyn Hambrook of The Online Clown Academy leads the whole series with a new special guest clown/activist joining her each week. Together they will explore the potential of the clown to transform the performer, people, places and power structures. Each week Robyn will interview her guest about their work, followed by a co-facilitated workshop session, and a group discussion. Robyn’s expert guests this season are:
★ Amrita Dhaliwal – The Idiot Workshop, USA
★ Ken Fanning – Tumble Circus, Belfast, NI
★ Jon Davison – London Clown School, UK
★ Amy Rose – Amy Rose Projects, Bristol, UK

Participants from ACT Series 1 said:

“A workshop in standing up to power using humour and subversion. A whole new angle on non-violent resistance.“

“Be inspired by playful and real activists. Clowning on the edge.”

About Robyn Hambrook

Robyn Hambrook is an activist and a clown. Over the past four years she has been exploring the meeting point of her two passions through her Masters Research ‘Small Circus Acts of Resistance’, in Extinction Rebellion protests, and on the streets with the Bristol Rebel Clowns. During the pandemic Robyn took her work online, setting up The Online Clown Academy with Holly Stoppit and then developed (and sold out) the first Activist Clown Toolkit series in February 2021. Inspired and encouraged, Robyn has enlisted the help of four more expert international practitioners to help with her continued inquiry:

★ Amrita Dhaliwal – The Idiot Workshop, USA
★ Ken Fanning – Tumble Circus, Belfast, NI
★ Jon Davison – London Clown School, UK
★ Amy Rose – Amy Rose Projects, Bristol, UK
(scroll down for more info about the facilitators)

Course structure

★ Following feedback and evaluation of our first co-lab series, we have extended the length of our sessions - each week we will have 2.5 hours together to ensure we have enough time to learn, play & grapple with the issues.
★ This will be a closed group for the whole 5 week course, to enable participants to connect, share and develop their skills and networks together. This will be a group journey so we ask that you commit to attending the whole course (as much as you can).
★ Co-lab 1: 1 June
In the first session Robyn Hambrook will explore key concepts of clowning and activism from her research so far, introduce elements of clown play, ensemble work and improvisation and enable participants to get to know each other before launching into the rest of the course.
★ Co-labs 2-5
- Robyn will interview a guest expert each week, to get an insight into their practice
- Together they will then co-facilitate practical exercises, allowing you to have an embodied experience of their ways of working
- At the end of each session, Robyn will facilitate a discussion where the group will get to apply their embodied learning to help them wrangle with the key questions.


Take-aways from the course

During this course you will develop:
- Practice-based frameworks for applying clowning practice for personal, social or political transformation
- Experience and insight into the work of practitioners in the areas of clowning, circus, art and activism
- A toolbox of go-to exercises for facilitation, creation, rehearsal and performance of transformative clowning projects
Enhanced knowledge of how things change and inspiration to start building your own action or project.


“A beginner's buffet of very prompting information regarding how to use one of the world's least understood art forms to help bring attention (and hopefully bring change) to any issue we face as a community, as a world, as a people.”


“It was so inspiring to work with the guest facilitators for two hours and to feel that they really practice what they preach.”

Who is it for?

Clowns, theatre practitioners, circus and physical performers, dancers, musicians, visual artists, street performers and political activists and enthusiasts! Anyone interested in exploring new forms of activism or expanding their understanding of clowning as a form of political expression. And anyone who wants to use humour and laughter to change the world.


How does it work?

Places: There are 20 spaces on the 5-week co-lab journey.

This course is booking on a first-come, first-served basis.
*** Booking link at bottom of page***
Dates & times: Tuesdays 6.30-9pm (UK-time)
1, 8, 15, 22, 29 June
Venue: This is an online course, held on Zoom
Cost: 5 week course:
£150 standard / £125 low income / £100 no income (plus booking fee)


About the co-facilitators

★ Amrita Dhaliwal

Amrita Dhaliwal (she/her/hers) is a Punjabi American comedian and devising artist based in Los Angeles, whose work spans multiple mediums, from stage to TV & film. Her work explores the core themes of humanity, like death and love, through a lens of the current political climate. Amrita is also a co-founder of Operation Project, a creative activist group based in the Los Angeles clown community. Most recently Amrita co-authored and curated an essay series for HowlRound about clown and activism with Nathaniel Justiniano of Naked Empire Bouffon Company. She is currently on the board for Clowns Without Borders and the Managing Director, as well as an instructor for the Idiot Workshop. More about Amrita.

★ Ken Fanning

The founding member or Tumble Circus, Ken Fanning uses circus clowns on the street as a sledge hammer for social change. Based in Belfast, Tumble Circus have gone from humble beginnings as street performers to become an international, touring circus performance company. But their roots are firmly based in the community and participation is at the heart of what they do. Their popular and riotous act, The Clown Marching Band, was conceived in a pub in Belfast in response to the depressing mess that was the Brexit vote and the pending marching season in Northern Ireland. Taking an unruly clown band into the heartland of Unionism has been surprising, disturbing and transformational. Their aim is to empower and activate “the people’s” creativity; to give purpose to their anger, though the shared experience of clown acts of devilment on the streets. More about Ken.

★ Jon Davison

Jon Davison is a clown performer, teacher, director, producer, researcher and musician with nearly 40 years’ experience in theatre, street, circus, festivals, TV and online. With a PhD in Clown Performance he is the founder of the London Clown School. He is the author of two books, ‘Clown Readings in Theatre Practice’ and ‘Clown Training, a practical guide’, which have become major textbooks for students of clowning worldwide. He is producer of the long-running monthly clown show ‘Friday Flop’ and currently dedicating himself to teaching, directing and performing clowning online. He runs the London Clown School, providing regular clown workshops in the UK as well as frequent visits worldwide to teach clowning. More about Jon.

★ Amy Rose

Amy Rose is an artist, director, activist and academic. She co-founded Playing Out, an organisation and national movement for reclaiming streets and public spaces for play. She draws on a toolkit of clown, improvisation, puppetry and street theatre alongside somatics, tactical urbanism, facilitation and interdisciplinary research. Amy toured North America, Europe and Scandinavia for 7 years with her solo street show/clown show ‘Rogue Angel’. She has worked with The Desperate Men, Kneehigh Theatre, Bread and Puppet, Holly Stoppit, Ramshacklicious, Green Ginger and others. She trained a lot with Philippe Gaullier but he never dared to hit her with a stick. More about Amy.

BOOK A PLACE ON The Activist Clown Toolkit With Robyn Hambrook

Online on Zoom

01 June 2021 - 29 June 2021

Apply now

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