Roughly 200 years ago, the modern idea of the circus clown was born – and now London is to host its first ever Clown Festival.

However, don’t expect the 200 year old icon of a white face and a red nose, as this is a festival of physical comedy and clown influenced contemporary performance. Exploring what clown is to the modern performer and their audiences.

In recent years there has been upsurge in comedy and theatre of performers who have been influenced by the teachings of Lecoq and Gaulier many of whom have gone on to become celebrated award winning artists. However, Clown remains an enigma to the general public who often have little understanding of the form beyond the stereotypical image of the clown as found in circus performance, red nose, big shoes and squirty flower.

So much so that Clown now has become a somewhat maligned word and performers are reluctant to identify themselves as Clowns.

The London Clown Festival aims to alter the image of Clown in the public consciousness.

In a way, clowning is following what happened to comedy in the 1980s, away from slapstick and Benny Hill to a harder more edgy contemporary commentary, with Ben Elton and Spitting Image.

The festival runs from 10th-19th June and all the performances take place at The Omnitorium in Harringay.

Tickets cost £5 in advance and can be booked here.

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