LATEST NEWS & UPCOMING WORKSHOPS
NEW SEASON OF ACTIVIST CLOWN TOOLKIT
And we're back! The FIFTH season of The Activist Clown Toolkit - Political Clown Co-lab Series! Who knew this incredible project could still be going after it's conception during the pandemic. Inspired by political podcasts, The Activist Clown Co-lab series is part workshop, part interview and part discussion. Each 2.5 hour masterclass ON ZOOM is a playful, embodied investigation into how to use clowning for political activism with expert clowns and activists on the ground.
I am so excited for the next line up of artists and activists, on the front line of humanitarian crises the world over, playing with humour and using clowning to subvert, challenge, inspire and connect. We have provocateur Leo Bassi, Police Officer Az-Oolay, Flying Seagull Ash Perrin and Dementia Activist Magdalena Schamberger.
The course is now 6 weeks long. I've added an extra integration week giving participants a chance to collectively vision, discuss, devise and plan how each can incorporate all the learnings from the series into their own projects.
so...what happened at the Clown Congress?
The Clown Congress returned for 2023, this time bringing together 55 clowns, academics, performers, artists, theatre makers teachers, therapists, activists and hobbyists from across the UK and Europe to interrogate our clowning practice and explore what it means to clown in these times. It happened over three days in Bristol.
We had a theme: Identity and Clowning. We had a shiny new venue, The Wickham Theatre at the University of Bristol. We had a bigger organising committee Jon Davison, Jan Wozniak, Aerial Mel Stevens, Holly Stoppit and me. And we had an online programme which ran simultaneously and included interviews, discussions and workshops by international practitioners.
If you want to find out what happened, I got blogs!
Check out Day One by Holly Stoppit; Day Two by Jan Wozniak; Day Three by Robyn Hambrook; Plus How was the Congress... reflections from participants and The Clown Congress in Prose by Beccy Golding
The Activist Clown just got published!
Last year I received a DYCP from Arts Council England to develop and consolidate my research of the Activist Clown. I wanted writing to be a part of that process. I reached out to Dorothy Max Prior, Editor of Total Theatre Magazine who had developed the Writers as Artists Scheme – mentoring artists to develop their writing skills, and think about their performance practice. Our work together since last November has culminated in my first published piece - 'Rebel, Rebel'.
An Activist Clown Festival in Lisbon
Read my latest blog about my recent trip to Lisbon for an Activist Clown Festival. What better way to escape the never-ending UK winter than pop over to Portugal for networking, conversations, workshops, performances and a pastel de nata or three!
In clown-versation with Barnaby King
Barnaby King asked me to join him for a Clown-versation about my activism and clowning work. It was a relaxed and easy conversation and the hour passed really quickly with still more to say. Barnaby has had about 30 conversations with clowns from all over the world, including Holly Stoppit, Eric Davis, Jeff Johnson, Nola Rae, Jon Davison and Angela Decastro. You can check out his Youtube Channel to find them all archived there.
Robyn is a Bristol-based director, teacher and performer. With over 20 years experience she is a passionate practitioner of clowning, physical theatre, circus and street arts. She has a MA in Circus Directing, a Diploma of Physical Theatre Practice and trained with a long line of inspiring teachers including Holly Stoppit, Peta Lily, Giovanni Fusetti, Bim Mason, Jon Davison, Zuma Puma, Lucy Hopkins and John Wright.
Over the past five years she has been exploring the meeting point of clowning and a deep desire to address the injustices in the world. This specialism has developed through her Masters Research ‘Small Circus Acts of Resistance’, on the streets and in protests with the Bristol Rebel Clowns and in research residencies with The Trickster Laboratory.
Robyn’s Activist Clown research has led to collaborations with Jay Jordan (Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination, France), Clown Me In (Beirut), LM Bogad (US), Hilary Ramsden (Greece) and international Tricksters; ‘The Yes Men’ (US).
During the pandemic in 2020, Robyn set up The Online Clown Academy with Holly Stoppit and developed a series of Zoom Clown Courses. Robyn’s research, started during her Masters, has been exploring the meeting point of clowning and activism, online, in the real world and with international collaborators. With this drive to explore political edges of her work she has also dived back into the world of the Bouffon; training with Jaime Mears, Bim Mason, Nathaniel Justiniano, Eric Davis, Tim Licata, Al Seed and the grand master Bouffon-himself; Philippe Gaulier.
Keen to explore the intersection of clowning and politics, Robyn is driven to create collaborative, research spaces, testing and pushing the limits of the artform to create new knowledge and methodologies for her industry and strengthen partnerships for future work. Some of her most recent collaborations and teaching projects have included the Nomadic Rebel Clown Academy (5-day Activist Clown Training), The Laboratory of the Un-beautiful (Feminist Grotesque Bouffon Training for Womxn Theatre Makers) and the Clown Congress (annual gathering of clowns, activists & academics collectively exploring what it means to be a clown in this current era)