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5 Clown Studies Courses You Need to Know About

Clowning studies. Yes, these courses really do exist. And here’s where you might take them. Also, Happy April Fools’ Day.
BY Skendha Singh |   31-03-2016

Think clown. What pops in your head? White face, red nose, neon wig and silly clothes. You probably have the Auguste clown in mind. Or if it’s the serious fool from the pantos – it’s a Pierrot. You might even think about Jim Carrey in Ace Ventura. Or, Mr. Bean fumbling at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics.

Clowns, simple as they seem, come from a long and rich performance tradition. Their history is as varied as their personalities. So Borat is not Bean is not Ace Ventura. Ask Dario Fo, the winner of the 1997 Nobel Prize for Literature, who ruffles feathers across the world with his epic lampoons directed against authority. His performances have not only sought to entertain but also enlighten.

There is also Medical Clown Therapy. Practitioners become part of paramedical systems and combine nursing with theatre, drama with psychology. The therapy is catching on with patients in all age groups – babies to the elderly.

For those not invested in theatre and the allied arts, but stuck to common sense jobs, clowning provides a great creative outlet. According to founders of the All In Theatre Company, which conducts clowning workshops in the UK, playing the clown liberates us from our fear of failing, encourages us to experiment and engage with others.

Now, if reading all this makes you want to juggle a few balls and practice a few pratfalls, we have just the thing. Below is a list of five courses where you can learn how to become a clown. But, since April Fools’ Day is on us, we can’t help but slip in a fake degree. See if you can spot it. If not, happy April Fools’ Day.

  1. L’Ecole Internationale de Theatre Jacques Lecoq

    This is the Oxbridge and Ivy League of clowning. Founded in 1956 by Jacques Lecoq, the school boasts of alumni like Isla Fisher, Philippe Gaulier, Sophie Hunter and Toby Jones.

    Apart from workshops, the school offers a two years course in “generating performance languages which emphasize the physical playing of the actor.” In the first year, students attend classes on Acrobatics, Juggling, Mime, Creating Characters and other skills.

    In the second year, there are classes on Gestural Language, Mimed Comic Strips, Storytelling Through Words and Images, Human Comedy, etc.

    You can apply for the course by sending in your CV with your date of birth, place of birth, previous classes or workshops attended, a letter of recommendation and a personal statement. A basic knowledge of French is also highly recommended.
  2. L’Ecole Philippe Gaulier

    How serious is the funny business? Ask Philippe Gaulier, founder of the school, and mentor to the likes of Sacha Baron Cohen. Students are spared nothing when it comes to performance critiques. And the teachers may be hard to please. The benefit of course is, if you can survive, you will thrive.

    In the two years course, the first year has workshops like Mask Play, Melodrama, Shakespeare, Chekhov, etc.

    The second year features workshops on Clowns, Bouffons, Vaudeville, etc.

    To enroll, you need to download the application form from the website, and submit fees alongside. You can enroll for the listed courses as per your appetite, buffet style or a la carte.

  3. Udemy

    Udemy offers an online course in Becoming a Clown. The course covers the basics – from applying makeup, to choosing your personality, and becoming a part of the larger community. What do you need to enroll? An internet connection and USD 24.
  4. Indiana University Bloomington

    The Clown Science course offered by the Indiana University Bloomington’s Health Professions and Prelaw Centre, trains students in humour therapy.

    As a Clown Science practitioner, you can learn how to make people smile, laugh, cry and laugh so hard they cry, as well as other advanced techniques. In addition, you can consult your hilarity advisor to choose from a range of electives – from Abnormal Clowning to Comedy vs. Tragedy: Case studies in Political History. For more information – visit the website.

  5. Haifa University

    The only university in the world which offers a programme on Medical Clown Therapy. Offered through the university’s drama school, the programme focuses on drama therapy, nursing, psychology, and performing arts. Students are taught how to use humour to nurse and nurture.

    Clown Therapists also work as part of multidisciplinary medical teams under the ‘Dream Doctors’ project.
Could you guess which one is fake? Tell us in the comments below.



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