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Artmedia - Physical Theatre News -
Clown Masterclass with Alan Clay, Connecticut, USA
Seismic Change in Clown Practice Required at NICA
Call for 1-Act comedy plays for the Auckland Festival, NZ
Compiling a list of all the youth circuses in Australia
Imaginal Play, Performance Workshop, Melbourne, Australia
Mime and Physical Theatre Festival in the Caribbean
Network of Ensemble Theatres National Conference, USA
Festival Barcelona Arts de Carrer, Barcelona, Spain
2004 Twelfth Night Procession in Barcelona, Spain
Pan Centre for Intercultural Arts seeks premises, London, UK
Charity Fundraising event in Sydney needs entertainers
Newsletter Subscriptions & Unsubscriptions
Newsletter Advertising and Artmedia site promotion
Welcome to the May edition of the Artmedia newsletter, a
with an Australasian focus and a global perspective.
This month the newsletter is coming to you out of Ottawa,
Canada, where I have been teaching a Clown Masterclass for the
past week. My thanks to Brian Wilson of Orbital Entertainment,
who has run this workshop. Brian is part of a duo called the
Cowguys, and I recommend their performance work, and
Brian's agency. Find a link to the Cowguys site under Street
Performers at www.artmedia.com.au/links.htm
There is one more Clown Masterclass in the current series coming
up in a couple of weeks in Connecticut, USA. Martin Ewen, who
performs as Lurk the clown, is organising this, and there are some
wonderful performers already enrolled on the workshop, and still
some places available. Talk nicely to Martin and you may find that
he will still offer the workshop to you at the earlybird price, he's
that sort of guy. Find more information in the Playspace section of
the newsletter below.
Following the editorial in the last newsletter about the fledgling
Australian National Institute of Circus Arts in Melbourne, which
generally lamented the lack of clown in their teaching practice, we
received a lot of response, so it obviously touched an important
point. So, in this issue we publish in full the response of the director
of NICA and my reply to some of her ridiculous assertions, which
equate clown with plate-spinning and elephants, followed by a
range of feedback from other industry practitioners.
In the networking, you will have to move quickly on the call for
1-Act comedy plays for the Auckland Festival in New Zealand,
as the applications close at the end of the month. In Australia we
have a call for all the youth circuses to make contact and be
included on a comprehensive list, and information on an 'Imaginal
Play Workshop' in Melbourne.
The third Mime and Physical Theatre Festival in the Caribbean has
just wound up, and the Director looks towards next year's event. In
the US we have information on the Network of Ensemble Theatres
National Conference, and in Europe, on the Barcelona International
Busker Festival, in Spain, and the 2004 Twelfth Night Procession.
In the UK, the Pan Centre for Intercultural Arts seeks premises.
We aim to provide an avenue of communication for the growing
physical theatre community, so please send us info for inclusion in
this newsletter. Please also forward this to somebody else who
may be interested.
Artmedia Site Clients - check them out at www.artmedia.com.au
On the Artmedia site you can find a list of links to performers,
companies, resources and festivals all over the world, and you
can subscribe to this newsletter and find a copy of the latest issue.
Got it Flaunt it! are a performance duo who specialise in event
Circus Unique offers children's workshops and tailored
The Physical TV site has info on Richard James Allen and Karen
Pearlman's Dance Films.
Sydney Aerial Theatre Assn have information on their classes,
and performance projects.
Impromptu Theatrix run impro classes in Sydney, specialising
Hemlock Mejarne is an acrobat, stilt-walker, who has a
large range of skills.
Broadway and Co. - are a contemporary Australian circus
Playspace - Clown Masterclass with Alan Clay, Connecticut
Connecticut Clown Masterclass, America - June 16 to 19
10am to 4pm, in the village of Cornwall, only 2 hours from
New York by train. Cost: US$500 (earlybird, before May 16)
or US$700 with food and board, and US$600 (Full), or US$800
with food and board. Enrolments and information contact Martin
Ewen, firstname.lastname@example.org or ph America 860 672 2667.
"In the best clown tradition Alan Clay held up a window-mirror
for us to step through and reflect on the patterns, habits and
rituals of our days. It was funny, moving and excellent theatre."
New Zealand Herald
This Clown Masterclass program has been created to provide an
advanced platform for the development and practice of clown skills.
Some students with no experience will also find this course suitable,
simply by releasing themselves to the process.
The workshop provides a physical approach to the clown art form,
exploring playfulness, irreverence, and the freedom of not knowing.
Each day starts with a yoga warm up, followed by exercises to
develop physical and emotional expression, and improvisational
exercises to develop comic timing and audience rapport.
Campaign: Seismic change in clown practice required at NICA
Following the editorial in the last newsletter about the fledgling
Australian National Institute of Circus Arts in Melbourne, which
lamented the lack of clown in their teaching practice ( find a copy
of this issue at www.artmedia.com.au/physical.htm ) we received
a lot of response, so it obviously touched an important point.
In this issue, we publish in full the response of the director of
NICA, followed by a range of feedback from other practitioners.
Unfortunately this looks like being an ongoing campaign to effect
this change at NICA, so we invite your feedback for future issues,
however some of the following ridiculous assertions of the director,
show the benefit of conduction this dialogue in public. I lead off with
my response to her.
"Hi Pam, Thanks for your feedback on my editorial... In response:
Equating the role of clown in the circus with plate spinning, group
juggling, or elephants, simply shows ignorance of the form. Clown
has a much more central role in circus, than plate spinning.
The work of the Australian physical theatre groups, 'Legs on the
Wall' and 'Strange Fruit' is influenced by clown, this is the point.
Physical theatre has grown out of clown work. Where else would
you get an expressive theatrical tradition, in the circus?
Clown is not just the painted face thing that you obviously imagine
it to be, and it is the broad, experimental, expressive tool you seem
to be seeking, but you have got to give enough contact teaching
time for this to be learned by the students.
4 hours a week of 'a range of character, clowning and performance
work' is nothing in the first year, and 5 hours in the second year 'as
an option', is NOTHING. In my opinion, Clown requires at least
30% of the contact teaching time each week, and must be
compulsory, and other creative work, like movement, should be
on top of this.
Clown work compliments and enhances physical skill development,
and ultimately the performance of these skills, so taking time from
the physical skill development, and giving it to clown work, is
actually good for all the disciplines of the Australian circus industry.
It's a win, win." Regards, Alan Clay
"Alan Clay's personal interest in teaching clowning seems to have
skewed his view of the National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA) to
the point where he is in danger of taking a pratfall into his own
misinformation (Editorial "Where has NICA gone wrong? -
Artmedia, April 2003) It is true that in the show he saw, On Edge,
there is not a lot of clowning. Nor is there any plate spinning, bare-
back riding or group juggling. This does not make it a lesser show
- it's a very different kind of show with a very particular and striking
theatrical style. It is definitely not a pale imitation of Chinese circus,
or any other kind of circus, and that is one of its great strengths.
While producing students with very high level performance skills
(as Alan admits) NICA is also concerned with stretching the
boundaries of circus performance to explore new directions and
styles. Sorry, but we can't promise a clown in every show. Nor an
elephant. As for Alan's assertions about clown training at NICA,
these need to be corrected. First year students spend four hours a
week on a range of character, clowning and performance work,
and in second year Clowning is offered as a circus specialization
option along with several other specializations. Specialty subjects
receive 5 hours of tuition each week. All second year students
receive a broad range of training in various styles of clown,
character and performance work. This covers a much broader
range of character possibilities than baggy pants and red noses, so
that NICA graduates have the potential to develop new forms and
variations on character to suit the changing nature of circus in all its
forms. The emphasis in third year is on performance, working both
as an ensemble with a director and also developing and refining
their individual acts. And finally, Alan talks about the impact of
Australian circus performers overseas. Yes, Circus Oz has made a
great impact, and so have Legs on the Wall, Strange Fruit, and
many other troupes with nary a clown in sight. And the world is
also starting to feel the impact of NICA students: past students are
working with Rock' n Roll Circus, Cirque du Soleil, Tokyo Disney
and some of Circus Oz's most recent recruits were from NICA.
NICA won't be neglecting clowning, but it will be opening students'
eyes to all sorts of character development possibilities while also
working with a range of directors who may or may not see clowning
as integral to circus performance. Contrary to the views expressed
by Alan, this is where NICA is going right." Pam Creed, Director,
National Institute of Circus Arts. e-mail: email@example.com
"Dear Alan, It was great to see you in Melbourne. Hope the O.S.
tour goes well - I'm sure it will be a blast. Couldn't agree with you
more about NICA. And it's such a shame considering there are a
lot of great clowns in Melbourne. I find it very strange that Pam
Creed can make statements that no assessment can be made yet
because there are no graduates, and yet the school charges more
than Circus Oz for a student show (which is also sponsored by
BMW)! In the words of Pauline, please explain?!" See ya, Abi
Collins. Abi is part of the Melbourne based duo, Sid and Lena,
find their link under Clowns at
"hey there alan, great job, the news letter was very good. I agreed
with the bit about NICA, I know a few people who were unhappy
about the clown situation. not only that, but circus folk from other
circus did not receive free entry into the show either which was
disappointing as free entry is always given to NICA students and
teachers for circus shows. Oh well. I have some great news, you
may put it in your next news letter if you like, myself and Melanie
Stephens will be off to Pappua New Guinea and Japan to perform
contortion, acrobatics and dance for the Siberian Circus The
owners come from Circus Royale and The Moscow Circus. I will
be with them for 3 months. My website has some new updates, and
I would love it if you could advertise my website in your next
newsletter." Jasmine George. Find a link to Jasmines site under
"ONE is a new imitative from the Covert Theatre. It's a season of
1-Act comedy plays, staged at the Covert Theatre as part of the
2003 Auckland Festival. The season runs from 17th September to
4th October 2003. We are looking for 1-Act comedy plays that are
between 5 and 30 minutes in duration. This is also a NZ New Works
section where we are looking to stage at least 2 new NZ works
within the season. Please send submissions to (a copy of the script)
to: ONE, P.O. Box 56263, Dominion Rd, Auckland, New Zealand.
email firstname.lastname@example.org Submissions close 31 May 2003."
"Hi Alan. Sharon McCuctcheon here (from Clyde circus - Batemans
Bay High School). I am currently trying to compile a list of all the
youth circuses in Australia so we can get "connected" - I would love
your help! Please can you ask any youth circuses on your newsletter
list to get in touch with me - thanks Alan," Cheers, Sharon.
"Physical Practice/Imaginal Play, Performance Workshop with Barry
Laing at the Dancehouse, Melbourne, Australia. Sat/Sun 28/29 June,
10.30am - 5.00pm each day. Since 1995, Barry Laing has been
developing a dance-theatre practice concerned with 'presence' and
its shadow, 'absence', in all of their aspects and shades ... the rules
of the game, the conviction in forms, and the pleasure of the
performer, with which we can play. This workshop is an introduction
to this practice with a particular focus on working with 'gravity' in all
of its metaphorical & material richness - dissidence, defiance,
weight-less-ness, insolence, stupidity, lightness and laughter ..."
Expressions of Interest/Bookings/Deposits: email@example.com
"Thank you very much Alan for all the information about workshops
and Physical Theatre training. You are a great help. Polimnia Physical
Theatre ran the 3rd International Mime and Physical Theatre Festival
in the Caribbean from May 23 to the 25. This year the festival brought
together a vibrant and fabulous collection of professional and
community artist. Rick Wamer, USA; Ana Sánchez-Colberg, London;
Bartlomiej Ostapczuk, Poland; Sorely Muentes, Myrna Renauld-EN
SITU DANZA, Luis Oliva, Iván Olmo and Polimnia Physical Theatre
from Puerto Rico. We are planning other selection for our next Mime
and Physical Theatre Festival in the Caribbean, 2004. For our fourth
year we are going to start looking for new, fresh and talented artist.
The festival has been devised to celebrate the diversity, artistic and
quality of Mime and Physical Theatre from local and international
artist and companies. For information about the festival contact me
at firstname.lastname@example.org . Best wishes with all your projects
and a big hug." Iván Olmo Artistic Director.
"The Ko Festival of Performance is now in its 12th year on the
Amherst College campus in Amherst, MA, USA. This summer
we will also be hosting the Network of Ensemble Theatres
National Conference, a gathering of artists, presenters, critics,
scholars and students interested in ensemble theatre. Monday
- Sunday, July 21-27, with the expected participation of (to date):
Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, Cornerstone Theater, Double
Edge Theatre, Ghost Road Company, HartBeat Ensemble,
Irondale Ensemble Project, Mabou Mines, Ko Theater Works,
NaCl, Sandglass Theater, Theatre Grottesco, Touchstone Theatre,
and A Traveling Jewish Theatre. For further conference information
and registration visit the web site." Sabrina Hamilton, Artistic
Director. Find a link the Ensemble Threatre Conference, and the
Ko Festival of Performance, under Festivals and Conferences at
"We do inform street arts companies, that it's open the period for
receiving artistic proposals for the official programme planning of
IV Festival Barcelona Arts de Carrer. The Festival will take place
from the 20th to the 24th of September on the occasion of La Mercé,
Festa Major de Barcelona. Moreover, the announcement to
participate in 2003 Barcelona Arts de Carrer PRIZES competition
begins." For further information check out the Barcelona International
Busker Festival, under Festivals at
"The Three Wise Men of Barcelona are looking for artistic projects
The Three Wise Men are looking for Street Art Companies to design
and produce the 2004 Twelfth Night Procession in Barcelona.
The Institute de Cultura de Barcelona (ICUB) invites all the street art
companies to propose an artistic project that turns the Twelfth Night
Procession into an even more highlighted celebration of Barcelona
festivities calendar: artistically, an innovative event, and culturally, an
event even more representative of the city multiculturalism.
If you need further information, please read the announcement to
participate in the Twelfth Night Procession on our web site. We are
waiting for your ideas." Find this site by clicking on the Barcelona
International Busker Festival link at
"Pan Centre for Intercultural Arts is the UK's oldest intercultural
performance company with an impressive track record of working
in the community against race violence and with refugees as well as
creating professional and youth performances, and in partnerships
across the world. In the last year it has reached over 50,000
people with its work. For the last four years Pan has been in
residency at The City Lit, advising on and contributing to its
performing arts programme in return for office, storage and
rehearsal space. Due to a financial crisis at the City Lit, arising from
difficulties completing their proposed new building, the executive
has had to make major cutbacks and consequently Pan is seeking
new premises from August 1st 2003. We are open to all offers for
collaborations, residencies or solo occupancy and can provide a
wide range of enriching services to our new area. If you know of
organisations in search of partners, or of premises within Greater
London, please contact us as soon as possible. We look forward
to hearing from you." John Martin, Artistic Director, Pan Centre
for Intercultural Arts. email@example.com Web: www.pan-arts.net
"I am hoping that you maybe able to assist with some information
on Children's Performers (Age bracket 4 to 14) that we may be
able to contact. We are holding a Fundraising event on 31 August,
at Sydney Olympic Park and need entertainers for children in the
crowd. Convoy for Kids Sydney Inc. is a non profit organization
raising funds for sick and needy children and the transportation of
sick children. If you could assist us it would be greatly appreciated.
I can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org . Looking forward to
hearing from you." Kerry Mannix, Secretary
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