Blogpost from Ian Williams aka Smartii

I recently attended the workshop C.I. organised in Glasgow. I kind of had to the room was booked in my name hehe. I would have attended regardless as I’m trying to develop my skills continuously at the moment and I have acquired a real love for workshops that actually develop my clown. There’s a lot of workshops at various Kids entertainer conventions etc and other clown conventions that deal with the peripheral skills to clowning, facepainting, juggling, balloon modelling etc but very little on actually developing the skills to entertain an audience with the art of clowning.

We’ve been very lucky to have Simon Thompson on board to assist in our new masterclass sessions and I’ve been to a lot of Simon’s workshops even before they were with Clowns International. So far I’ve studied with him in Denmark, Catalonia, England, Ireland (North and South) and Scotland. I’ve done some of the workshops multiple times, learning something new or discovering something I thought I had already learned again and doing it better.

This workshop was something new though a chance to devise a 7-10 minute act for performance in Circus, Stage, Burlesque or Street etc. Well I had to bring something new which in itself was a challenge, even with all I have learned over the past few years I still rely on certain pieces in all of the acts I do, as they are like a warm comfortable glove. Most of the acts I do start with bows and the hat kick as this allows me a chance to let the audience get to make a decision on whether they like or trust me before I launch into the act. This however had to be a new act, played out at the workshop, revised before playing more workshop games and running through the act again, and finally directed by Simon to make it flow more smoothly and become an actual act.

Now these blog posts are supposed to quick and punchy or I would list Simon’s credentials as both a Clown, Producer and Director. Suffice to say he’s taught enough of these workshops both to clowns and the MA students at Limerick University to know how to get the best out of his students, he has a cheeky style that whilst drawing on LeCoq and Gaullier methods is a lot easier to swallow for us artistic types. A lot of experience of directing and cutting the wheat from the chaff, so the workshop was invaluable to me and I have nearly a full act worked out now. In fact I auditioned the act for a Clown Cabaret Scratch night on the Tuesday evening after the workshop. I hear back at the end of the week whether I was successful or not, but to me it’s already a win. A few years ago I would never have dreamed of trying to do cabaret, a few years back I was still scared to present an act. These workshops have got me over my stage fright and since then I’ve performed in Circus, Stage, Nurseries, Schools, Magic Circle open nights and of course Street where I was most comfortable. I now have the confidence to go into an audition for cabaret and learn from the audition process too. Next after the cabaret I’d love to try a little Burlesque with the same act and maybe someday I may even try little acting. (No I’m only joking)

If you’re on the fence about whether to attend any of our future masterclasses, I urge you to say yes and see just what it can do for you.