BOUFFON: Grotesque Play

Tuesday 2 November, 2021 - Wednesday 3 November, 2021
9:30 am - 5:30 pm

Teacher: Gerry Flanagan
Suitable for: All levels. Over 18 years of age.

Price: £140: early bird price of £120 if paid before October 21st


Gerry Flanagan St MARGARET’S HOUSE November 2nd 9.30 – 17.30 151 LONDON ROAD
November 3rd 9.45 – 17.30 EDINBURGH

Play is spontaneous, enjoyable and full of surprises. It is usually associated with enjoyment
and laughter. This workshop will explore the darker side of play. We will uncover the
grotesque world inhabited by the Bouffons.

The Bouffons originated in the Medieval Period and are the dark reflection of the Clown. Bouffons live on the edge of society. They have been rejected because they are considered
deformed, mad, ugly, morally corrupt and evil. Their mere existence
challenges the morals and authority of everyone.

The Bouffons relish any opportunity to play with the unacceptable, with whatever is taboo.
They seek revenge against those who have oppressed them and their play reveals the hypocrisy they see all around them. Their tools are parody, satire and relentless mocking of
the “beautiful people.” At times the laughter they produce may be challenging and
uncomfortable, at other times refreshing and releasing.

“The difference between the clown and the bouffon is that while the clown is alone, the bouffon is part of a gang; while we make fun of the clown, the bouffon makes fun of us. At the heart of the bouffon is mockery pushed to the point of parody. Bouffons amuse themselves
by reproducing the life of man in their own way, through games and pranks”
Jacques Lecoq

“Agitators are a set of interfering, meddling people, who come down to some perfectly
contented class of the community and sow the seeds of discontent amongst them.
That is the reason why agitators are so absolutely necessary. Without them there
would be no advance towards civilization”.
Oscar Wilde

Feedback from participants:

“I’ll actually discovered my body. I always knew in theory how my body should work and what kind of techniques there are. But now I really felt my body and could start from my body instead of from my head. I also learned what it means to be playing on stage. I thought I
always did this, but when I experienced it at times during the workshop
I realised that I never did this before.”

“Gerry shows us how to engage and entertain audiences by embracing our awkwardness,
playing with expectations, and learning to just be.”

“Incisive, inclusive, soothing – but without bullshit”

“Rigorous, playful, challenging.”

£140: early bird price of £120 if paid before October 21st

Gerry Flanagan is Artistic Director of Shifting Sands Theatre founded in 1998 to create and tour stimulating clown theatre that is both comic and moving. Past productions include Faustus – A Devilish Comedy!: Boxed In: Romeo & Juliet: The Deadline: The Seagull: Arabian Nights… and Days: The Devil’s Doctor; The King Lear. The company has an extensive street theatre program and encourages the development of new talent via teaching and performance projects.

“that wonderful, bewildered clown, Gerry Flanagan”
Time Out

To Book a Place email Gerry at:


G25 St Margaret's House, 151 London Road, Edinburgh EH7 6AE
St Margaret's House, 151 London Road