Exploring Difference in Clowning

Join us for 3 days of workshops, discussions and big ideas as we explore the future of clowning

We’ll be interrogating our practice asking:

  • Who am I when I’m clowning?
  • Who has the privilege to clown?
  • How does clowning redefine my experience?
  • How is clowning different when I do it to when you/she/he/they do it?
  • And what is clowning like when we do it together?

This year’s congress will focus on the themes of Identity and Clowning. We want to understand how our differences and who we are impact the way we clown. Instead of thinking of clowns as all being the same, we want to explore how clowning is influenced by our individuality and how society sees us today.

We will also look at how black, disabled, queer, trans, neurodiverse, white, and neuro-normative clowns, are similar or different from each other. By doing this, we hope to discover what makes each group unique and what they have in common.

The Congress serves as an interactive platform to put these questions into practice. It’s an incredible opportunity to deepen our understanding of clowns and the art of clowning. Who knows? We might even revolutionise the way we perceive clowns forever!


In times of crisis and change, the old models of our art-forms may need re-imagining to suit the times we are in.

The Clown Congress is a curated meeting place to:

* share practice;* have conversations about issues big and small;* explore developments of the art form;* ask our key questions; and,* challenge our thinking around the possibilities and power of clowning



WHEN: Saturday 28 – Monday 30 October 2023

WHERE: Wickham Theatre, Bristol University, Cantock’s Cl, Bristol BS8 1UP

For the online programme and cost see here


Robyn Hambrook, Jon Davison and Jan Wozniak

Congress Contributors




Over the three days we will engage with contributions by invited practitioners who are actively working on issues of clowning and identity.


Contributors will lead sessions which invite us to explore in practice the key questions of the congress.


Sessions will be in a mixture of formats including exploratory workshops, focused discussions, open spaces, informal get-togethers and sharing individual projects and personal artistic experiences.



9.30am – Arrival & registration

10am – 11.30am – Session one

11.30am – 12:00pm – Break – tea & coffee provided

12.00pm – 1.30pm – Session two

1.30pm – 2.30pm – Lunch – lunch provided for all participants

2.30pm – 4.00pm – Session three

4.00pm – 4.30pm – Break – Break – tea & coffee provided

4.30pm – 6.00pm – Session four

6.00pm – 8.00pm – informal gathering and some evening presentations.



Clowns, performers, activists, therapists, teachers, students, clown doctors, applied drama / improvisation practitioners, researchers, artists, dreamers and anyone who uses play in their work



  • £50 – per day includes lunch & refreshments
  • £125 – for 3-day conference includes lunch & refreshments
  • Ticket link coming shortly

We are committed to making the conference as inclusive and supportive as possible. So we have some low cost options:


We have 5 bursary places available for those who would otherwise be unable to attend due to financial barriers. We trust you to self-identify as needing the place and will support you as much as possible during the 3 days.

A bursary place will give you free access to all 3 days of the Clown Congress. It does not include the cost of the food so we will ask for a small fee of £/day

Ticket link coming shortly


We have 6 places for those who would like to attend the Congress, reduce costs and give something back.

A Congress Comrade place will give you free access to 2 days of the Clown Congress in exchange for one day in a support role. Tasks could include meet and greet, supporting facilitators, setting up for lunch etc.

Congress Comrade places do not include the cost of the food so we will ask for a small fee of £21.

Ticket link coming shortly.

For more information please contact robynhambrook@gmail.com for more information


In 2023 we will be building on the success and momentum of last year’s Clown Congress; the growing community; our international conversations; the research and the courage to tackle big questions, this year’s theme is Clown & Identity. We’ll be asking:

• Who clowns? Clowning has often been dominated by privileged identities. How are we

changing the artform in ways that enable greater diversity and inclusion?

• How do we understand clowning? How do we expand our understanding of what clowning is beyond rigid dominant definitions? How do we cultivate diverse approaches that emerge from our diverse identities?

• What potential does clowning hold for staging of our identities, of our hopes, anxieties and debates around who we are?