Theatrical Clowning

“You can put any costume on, but it’s always the same idiot underneath” Mick Barnfather

Theatrical clowning is character-oriented and explores the dynamics of the clown’s reactions to the world which rejects them, exacerbating their perpetual failure. Clowns are social misfits: they fail to fully integrate into society and the groups in which they operate. Clowns represent outsiders who fail to understand the established order and the rules it dictates. As a result, they disrupt rules which leads them to absurd, comic and idiotic situations.



This workshop is inspired by the teachings of Jacques Lecoq and invites participants to explore the parameters of one’s own comic persona(s) through theatrical clowning.

The first part of the workshop will be dedicated to the exploration of one’s individual clown, shedding light on the parts of us which make us funny, ridiculous and beautiful. Through a range of physical improvisation exercises participants will concentrate on the state of clown – genuine and honest play – and will research a variety of individual movement patterns, rhythms, attitudes and emotions.

The second part of the workshop will focus on the engagement with clownesque scenarios. Participants will concentrate on the creation and definition of their character clown and will explore their relationships with other clown-characters in humane situations – first dates, job interviews, all kinds of competition and mundane tasks. During the second part of the workshop participants will devise a short scene which will be presented at the end of the workshop.


Bristol Physical Theatre Project’s workshops are aimed at performers and artists of various disciplines who would like to widen their performing and performance making skills. The project’s approach to theatre making has a strong emphasis on movement and physicality and concentrates on the idea that the performer’s creative impulse is crucial in the process of collective theatre creation.

All BPTP workshops are open to everyone regardless of their experience. So, regardless of whether you are an experienced performer or a beginner, you will be both encouraged and challenged.


Clowning is a rich and excellent tool for actors and performers of various disciplines. It stretches the performer’s imagination and teaches to embrace one’s truthful emotions, connecting with the silly and crazy side, celebrating mistakes and fragility. Clowns do not avoid failure, problems and being caught out –on the contrary, they thrive on struggle. This helps the performer to overcome a range of blocks, for example, stage fright and stay in the here and now. Clowning encourages the performer to become more generous, playful and genuine, being complicit with the audience and other performers, finding a game and joy in every challenge they face.