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London Clown Festival returns for 2017

Event preview

LONDON Clown Festival returns for 2017 and runs from May 11 to May 21.

Clowning has been growing in popularity and its reputation changing over the last few years, with a number of high profile and award winning performers coming to the forefront of the comedy industry, moving away from stereotypes of red noses and squirty flowers and towards the sophisticated silliness of physical comedy at its greatest.

In its inaugural year in 2016, London Clown Festival, the first of its kind in London, set out to celebrate the rise of modern clowning, bringing amazing physical performers who could make people laugh with a twitch of their eyebrows into one place.

Following on from the success of 2016, seeing 34 shows performed in 10 days, London Clown Festival has moved into the Art Deco splendour of Hornsey Town Hall to bring a multitude of shows to four venues within the building.

Featuring highly acclaimed artists, alongside up and coming new talent from across the globe, London Clown Festival will maintain its founding principles, remaining a celebration of physical comedy and clown influenced contemporary performance, exploring various forms of clowning and sharing the joy, exhilaration and surprise with a wide breadth of audiences both young and old and to help to explore the image of Clown in the public consciousness, igniting a new passion in audiences.

Lightheaded, whimsical, anarchic, dark and political performers all find a home within the festival. The court jester spoke the truth to the King without punishment or penalty and this subversive performance tradition continues.

Highlights of the 2017 festival include Red Bastard, Natalie Palamides: Laid (co-devised and directed by Edinburgh Comedy Award Winner Dr Brown); Zach & Viggo: Dream Team (Winners – Best Comedy, Adelaide Fringe Weekly Award and Best Comedy Brighton Fringe); Jamie Wood: I Am A Tree (Total Theatre Award for Innovation Nominee); Twisted Loaf Are Off Yeast (Funny Women Award winners) and many more, including workshops yet to be announced.

Last year, the festival recognised the upsurge of comedy and theatre performers who have been influenced by the teachings of legendary physical performance trainers Lecoq and Gaulier and many of these students have gone on to become celebrated award-winning artists. However, Clown remains somewhat of an enigma to the general public who still sometimes think only of the stereotypical image of the clown as found in circus performance, complete with big shoes and painted faces. Or of course as the figures of fear as seen by the spate of scary clown sightings on the UK streets last year.

The London Clown Festival organisers continue to work to see the negative perceptions of clown change.

“Clowning has a rich and diverse history and it continues to this day to influence film, theatre and comedy. The celebration of The Fool crosses cultural divides and is a timeless human experience. We can all identify with The Fool as an expression of our own fragility and imperfection, and delight in their struggles and ability to find ridiculous and imaginative solutions to the simplest of problems. The clown has no limits. London Clown Festival 2017 brings together an exciting mix of contemporary artists in a celebration of clowning, buffoonery, and foolery in all its forms” Dan Lees, Festival Co-Founder.

Prices: Vary by event from £7.50 – £11.50 – to book visit londonclownfestiva.wixsite.com/.

Times: Vary by event, from early afternoon to evening (Press night May 11 at 8:30pm).

Hornsey Town Hall Arts Centre, The Broadway, Crouch End, E8 9JJ