A few words from our revered Chairclown, Noeleen “Tilly” Breen:
I would like to share a little of my vision for this amazing club that we are all part of. It’s not all original thought, in fact most of it is really thoughts from dozens of members which have swirled around inside my head for some time, blended with my own experience and tumbled out as follows:
Those of you who have been around for much longer than me, remember a time when joining the club was much more difficult and required a “sponsor” to propose you. This created a great pride in having made the grade for membership. It also brings some respect among the general public for those who have been honoured with membership. In the drive to make the club bigger, this practice was abandoned in favour of the system we have now where those unknown to committee can join as Provisional Clowns. Part of me loves the idea that membership should be something clowns all over the world desire passionately but I also want to see the club grow massively and embrace all forms of our art. There must be a way we can both swell our numbers AND create a massive pride in belonging to Clowns International.
One way is for our awards to be a much more exciting event. Committee have been working on that and Kari “Flo” Dunton has trawled all over the place to find the perfect venue. So our awards this year will be a wonderful red carpet affair. It’s a great excuse for me to buy a new dress!
I firmly believe that our art is currently undergoing a sort of renaissance. I sometimes hear people worry about how the nature of clowning seems to be changing, but I don’t see it as something to worry about. Clowning is, and has always been, a reflection of the society in which we live. If that is so, it MUST change, it MUST evolve because the society it reflects is constantly evolving. Change doesn’t mean leaving behind our roots but it does mean endless exciting possibilities for creativity. It does mean constant self evaluation and personal development to ensure we are always equipped with the skills we need to unleash the full potential of our creativity.
I would love to see the club provide lots of training opportunities for every type of clowning and for every level of experience. In fact, I would love to see us become renowned for facilitating amazing training opportunities. We have the capacity within the club to provide some fantastic courses because we already have some of the best clowns in the world among our number. That requires a membership who believes as firmly as I do in the benefit of professional development, no matter what stage of their career. It also requires those of you with many years’ experience and finely tuned skills to commit to passing the art on. Committee have appointed Simon Thompson as the club’s education director to help drive this ideal forward. As well as being a clown, Simon is a gifted teacher and passionate about the professional development of clowns. He is currently undertaking a research degree at the University of Limerick into the methodology of teaching clown.
The appointment of Martin “Zippo” Burton as our President also helps immensely with the development of clown education in the club. His belief and commitment to education is evident in the establishing of Zippo’s academy, the only travelling circus arts school in the world. I LOVE his idea that our GOLD members (Growing Old Living Dinosaurs) mentor a younger clown. Not just the juniors, I want to be mentored too (Looking forward to see who volunteers to mentor me)!
That’s only the beginning of my thoughts …. More next time. Look forward to seeing lots of you in the months to come.