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The Why Not Institute Summer Clown School

The world of clowning is full of wonder. It is a place where performers can have the freedom to play and focus on being serious about being silly. True theatrical clowning has applications for actors, directors, cabaret performers and all types of artists. Most of all, it is a world of fun, anarchy and beauty.

Recent years have witnessed a rapid growth in the popularity of clowning, culminating in clowns winning prestigious mainstream comedy awards. To celebrate this resurgence, The Why Not Institute is pleased to announce 2017's Summer Clown School. 

Details of the workshops available can be found below. To apply to book your place, please email

Click on a workshop title to be taken to the full details. 

'How To Be A Stupid'

**Angela de Castro's 10 day Clowning Workshop**   
12th - 23rd June 2017 - £750

Venue: Kennington London 
For more info and an application form, please email 

‘Clowning offers to the theatre practitioner an immense spectrum of new possibilities, a freedom that we can’t find in any other art form.’

Angela de Castro's world-renowned How To Be A Stupid workshop is a space for discovery, where participants can dedicate themselves to the art of clowning, experience the freedom that comes with serious play and lay the foundations for successful future clowning projects.

For those already clowns, this process helps them find truthfulness and depth in their clowning, encompassing the tragic as much as the comic. For actors and other performers, this process helps make performing more real, more individual, more joyful. For beginners and those who just want an experience of personal development, the course is a transformatory journey of discovery.

Entering the world of the clown is an invitation to lose yourself; to delve deeper into the universe that your clown persona inhabits and to see the world through new eyes. For your performance to have resonance and truth - and to be ultimately rewarding - it needs real depth. How To Be A Stupid takes you into a space where you find and develop that depth in a very safe environment.

This is a demanding process. The art of clowning requires courage, discipline and perseverance. This well-crafted programme, led by the highly experienced clown and teacher Angela de Castro, guides participants into a deep exploration of The State of Clown and The Clown’s Intelligence, it's maintenance, and the development of a clown persona that is unique to the individual. The state of clowning, created during the workshop, enables participants to be truly be in the moment, responding to the stimulus around you, free from the constraints of social conventions. 

For de Castro, it is fundamental that the state of clown and the clown persona are explored fully in order to encourage, inspire and support the development and creation of successful clown acts and performances. This isn't 'instant clowning', but 10 days of serious and enjoyable work to develop the strong foundations of a clown persona, its intelligence and the confidence to use the unlimited power of imagination and creativity.

By the end of this workshop you will have:

“All the best universities, theatre and circus groups, arts centres, festivals from every continent around the world continue to request A de Castro’s workshop because it really delivers. Don’t lose the chance of getting a place on her course? For me, it was brilliant. If I was you, I would call now!”
Guiherme Miranda, composer, musician, actor, clown

“De Castro is the most focussed teacher I have worked with. Her energy, focus and attention are always on full, no matter how demanding or exhausting the work. This course made me feel open to the possibilities of the world and my possibilities in it in a way no other training has done. Do this course and you will be changed. At the finish you will be a different person to the one you were at the beginning.”
Louise Peacock, Senior Lecture of Hull University and author of the book ‘Serious Play’

This is a very popular workshop. 
Angela de Castro works only with a small group of participants.
Early booking is highly recommended.

For more information and an application form please email:

'How To Be Even More Of A Stupid'

**Advanced exercises for experienced clowns**
26th - 30th June 2017 - £400
Venue: Kennington London 
For more info and an application form, please email 

This workshop does what says on the tin! 

The state of clown is like a muscle that needs to be exercised; the more practice and training a performer has, the stronger the results. Through the advanced exercises at this course, experienced clowns and actors who use clowning on their work, can stretch themselves to improve their 'clown-fitness' and make them better prepared to deal with even more challenging clown scenarios. 

This unique workshop is specifically for experienced performers who take stupidity very, very seriously. Attendees will be able to work alongside performers of the same level while exploring a range of advanced techniques and improvisation scenarios. 

De Castro's structured approach focuses specifically on the areas that are most challenging for the professional performer. By focusing on imagination, playfulness and the pleasure to be present, every section of the workshop has real practical lessons that can be applied to the clown's existing performances and help structure the development of new ones. It is a challenging, enjoyable and rewarding week of work for those who put their all into being seriously silly. 

Especially for experienced clowns, this is a real platform for those who take fun (and stupidity) very, very seriously. Filled with a mix of exercises, advanced techniques and improvisation scenarios, it's an opportunity to train and play with performers of the same level. 

'De Castro's gift is in bringing to the fore the sometimes very quiet voice at the centre of the artist's being and expressing that. In an atmosphere as serious as it is playful, laughter and discipline lead to a connecting with inner truth and the principles at the heart of acting and of communicating with an audience. Experience the invigorating presence of an experienced performer who lives to share the joy and simplicity of the clown form and how it can so usefully relate to the art of acting.”
Stephen Wisker, Actor, Director, Storyteller, Ukulele-ist

'A teacher, a Master Clown, who is very delicate - who respects the performer in front of her and takes care to take you on the best path, so you do not expose yourself unnecessarily… A director who helps performers build and deliver their scenes with confidence.'  
 Silveira, Clown; Editor, 'Women Clowns Magazine

For more information and an application form please email:

'The Pleasure of Playing'

**The State of Playfulness on the performer's work**
17th June 2017 - 10am - 1pm - £20
Venue: Kennington London 
For more info and an application form, please email 

In the beginning there was Play

... and Play is everything!

Play is at the heart of clowning.

For performers, actors and clowns it is important to keep the state of playfulness fresh and alive, to feed the soul and keep it light.  

It is fundamental for clowns to exercise the mind, the body and the spirit. The spirit is often overtaken by the physical and intellectual demands of the job. Very often, it is the clown techniques that get the focus. However, what is a clown without a soul? Without a spirit?  How important it is not to forget that our souls need as much training and feeding as our bodies and minds?

Using simple games and light exercises, ‘The Pleasure of Playing’ will liberate the imagination and brings participants a new burst of energy, focus and awareness. Based on collective non-competitive games, these structured and surprisingly thought-provoking workshop became a must for clowns of all disciplines.

The Importance of Playfulness:

When we play we are free and when we are free we bring our true selves to the moment, we are spontaneous in our actions and feelings. It is indispensable for clowns to be on the moment. To be free and confident enough to play each moment with purity. This freedom is a source of resources for our material and enables us to expose our ridiculous side and being ‘stupids’. ‘The Pleasure of Playing’ shows you how to transport the freedom and pleasure of playing in to the clown’s work.

'The Pleasure of Playing' is an introduction to Angela de Castro’s methodology. The workshop is invigorating, inspiring, encouraging and friendly, a must for anyone who wants to reconnect with their creative inner self, the gullible self that is not allowed to appear in our day to day lives.

There is also the element FUN:

‘Fun is a necessity, not a luxury!

I know that you have a lot of responsibilities and that you need a steady flow of time, money and other resources, but regular doses of fun can help you to accomplish your goals. You may protest that you don’t have enough time, money or energy to play. Yet, I can assure you that playfulness is a wonderful investment that yields immediate returns.

’When you have fun and laugh, you relax. This relaxation gives you a greater inflow of ideas, spiritual connections, confidence to follow your instincts and energy. With new inspirations and energy you can better manifest your desires. Your relaxed and radiant personality attracts wonderful and helpful people to you. Your positive outlook creates new opportunities for you. When you look at life in this way, you can’t afford not to have fun.’   (Doreen Virtue)


Why Fun:

Book this course in conjunction with The Beauty of Mistakes for £35

For more information and an application form please email:

'The Beauty of Mistakes'
17th June 2017 - 2pm - 5pm - £20
Venue: Kennington London 
For more info and an application form, please email 

How do you respond when something goes wrong? How do you deal with performing in environments you are uncomfortable in? How can you cope with unexpected situations that arise mid performance? How do you ensure you engage the crowd when you are "not feeling it today"?

This workshop will look at how can you turn a mistake or unplanned event into something magical for the audience. It covers a series of tried and tested clown exercises that have transferable skills for all performance disciplines, while tapping into your inner clown.

The concepts covered will assist those who often find themselves in challenging performance situations – as all artists do – and empower them to turn unexpected and unplanned events into beautiful pieces of entertainment.

Clowning is a powerful tool. With the clown's mindset, you can approach situations that you may normally find uncomfortable with joy and enthusiasm. Students of clowning often find themselves saying "I had no idea I could that" and it is this phenomena that this workshop taps into.

It's also going to be a lot of fun, and teaching through a series of games means you will leave with a collection of tools and exercises that you can practice on your own long after the workshop has finished.

Book this course in conjunction with The Pleasure of Playing for £35

For more information and an application form please email:


Your Teachers

Photo by Darius Amini

For HTBAS, HTBEMOAS andThe Pleasure of Playing  
One of the most-loved and respected theatre clowns, Angela de Castro is internationally recognised as a Master Clown teacher, performer and director. She has extensively toured in her own shows, notably her seminal work 'The Gift'; as well as in other productions, such as the Olivier Award-winning 'Slava's Snowshow', in which she created the 'Green Clown'. Other performing credits include 'Under Glass' with Clod Ensemble (Sadler's Wells), 'The New Tenant' (Young Vic) and most recently, 'Treasure Island' (National Theatre). She is International Fellow in Clowning (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland); and one of the six, first 'Dream Time' Award Fellows (NESTA).

Photo by Keith O'Keeffe

For The Beauty of Mistakes  
Kiki is a cabaret clown, who has performed on the variety circuit for 11 years. As well as touring on the variety circuit, Kiki has spent the last few years working on and performing his 5 star clown show The Weatherman and his new solo show Sheets. Currently he is working on a number of new clown projects to tour in 2017 and also working a project to teach clowning to a group of excellent disabled artists in Cambodia.