CLOWN – The Art of Play

CLOWN - The Art of Play

Tuesday 26 October, 2021 - Wednesday 27 October, 2021
9:30 am - 5:30 pm

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

Price: £140: with early bird price of £120 if paid before before October 16th

CLOWN – The Art of Play

The Clown negotiates the world by playing with it. Playfulness becomes a guiding principle for the clown. The style of play adopted is varied. It can be funny, tragic or nasty. Above all else the play is extremely personal and optimistic, even in the direst circumstances.

A performance that is based on play builds a direct relationship with the audience. When we play we are full of energy, alert and spontaneous. We look for playfulness in others and listen to creative impulses in ourselves. When playing we tend not to judge ourselves. If we are enjoying a game we are fully involved in it. There is a total belief and honesty.

Consequently, clowning is one of the most challenging of performance styles, with nothing to hide behind. The red nose highlights idiosyncrasies, fears and pleasures.

The clown has to be both spontaneous and full of stage presence – so full that the audience doesn’t even notice it. The study of Clown is a marvellous tool for performers of all persuasions. It allows them to confront the fear of performing because it demands an intimate relationship with the audience.

Why undertake such a rigorous challenge? Because the reward is great: the rich joy of laughter shared with those who were once strangers.

The workshops include:

Exercises, some influenced by the Feldenkrais Technique, which help to develop self awareness, co-ordination and fluidity of movement. Strengthening and stretching work.

The rules of play that underpin collaborative creation.

These help to develop a sense of timing.

Playing with each other.

Playing with the audience.

Times: OCT 26TH 9:30AM-5:30PM OCT 27TH 9:45AM-5:30PM

Comments from previous participants:

“Rigorous, playful, challenging.”
“Constructive, fun, clear.”
“Brilliant teacher – fascinating subject.”
“Helps break through boundaries and self-consciousness. Teaches simplicity.”

“Well thought through progression from the very subtle, building up to some very
touching and surprising improvisations. Very inclusive.
I felt comfortable an confident.”
“Had a fantastic time on this course. If you are looking for something, which
makes you feel comfortable performing in front of people, you will get a lot out of
it. Great exercises to get and keep an audience’s attention.”

“The tutor is a gifted practitioner who skilfully guided us through the four week
course making it fun, enlightening and very physical. The ability levels of the
group were vast with stand-up comics and actors and complete beginners all
catered for and encourages. I can’t recommend this course highly enough.”

“Mature, well taught, compassionate clown workshops that doesn’t hold punches
and teaches to a high level the art of clown and ensemble playing.”

“An incredibly powerful, beautiful, challenging, satisfying week which I felt got
right to the heart of the heart.

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: Great Expectations: The Deadline: The Seagull: Boxed In; Arabian Nights … and Days: The King Lear”. The company encourages the development of new talent via teaching and performance projects. Gerry has performed with many other companies including the David Glass Ensemble and Clown Selvaggio. He has taught Clown and related subjects for over thirty years.

“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