"Calling all clowns, rebels and activists and everything in between! It’s time to dust off the cobwebs, unfurl and emerge from a long hibernation!"
This was the callout for The Rebel Clown Project; my five day residency with Bristol Rebel Clowns around town. Supported by a Launchpad Residency with Invisible Circus I invited local clowns to join me and dive back into the world the Activist Clown with training, conversations, experiments and play.
There were two sessions a day with space for 10 in each session, in line with Covid restrictions. Over five days and ten session, 18 clowns joined the residency. We worked with the concerns and skills in the room. In the socially-distanced training space we explored and trained performance skills in clowning, street theatre, bouffon and ensemble. Hilary Ramsden, co-founder of The Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army joined us for some sessions as well sharing her training techniques of the original Rebel Clown.
My intention had been to build on conversations and training from The Activist Clown Toolkit – the workshop series exploring tools and techniques to build power and efficacy of clown based activism in the fight for equity, social and climate justice. I also wanted to explore various themes including and not limited to women in public space, decolonisation, historic perspectives of clowning and protest.
As it happened the residency took place against a backdrop of massive protests in Bristol. Thousands of voices and bodies united in the city against a draconian policing bill. This was met with police brutality and subsequent riots. In the street the issues mingled including; a resurgence in the call for safe spaces for women following the murder of Sarah Everard at the hands of a cop; alongside stories of 95% of women experiencing sexual harassment; vehement opposition to the new policing bill that would affect the right to protest, bring in trespass laws that will criminalise travellers and affect our human rights. Participants of the residency would arrive having just experienced the police violence in response to peaceful protest, so before we began the issues were palpable in the space.
In The Activist Clown Toolkit I wanted to tell a story through the programming of my four guests.
I am a performance artist, director, teacher and producer based in Bristol in the UK. With over twenty years’ experience, my passion lies in clowning, physical theatre, circus and street arts. Participation has formed the centre for my work, whether by involving community & artists in the creative process or creating work that asks the audience to become involved. I enjoy the power of the arts to inspire and for people to be active participants in theatre, empowering them to realise their own creative potential.
My skills are many and varied and span arts and event management, production, design, teaching and performance. I am proficient in marketing, PR and business development, with skills in administration, web design and office management. My project management skills incorporate planning, budgeting, tour management & reporting. I am also a teacher, choreographer and director of dance, physical theatre and circus.
My portfolio of work has taken place across the globe, from New Zealand and Australia to the UK and Europe, from Central and South America to the islands of the Pacific.