Make A Difference

In 2001 Maggie opted to undertake a degree at Plymouth University as a mature student, where a module on ‘Popular Theatre’ sparked her passion for clowning. 

Clowning opened my eyes to the possibilities of empowerment through ridiculousness.

Fast forward ten years and I am on stage at the Bournemouth International Centre, where, attired as Clown Sedusa, I invite 150 businesswomen to generate some new acquaintances through simple clowning techniques. I recall: “I was excited and naturally a little nervous; however, cheered on by the women at my table, I picked up a golden Christmas cracker from my dinner placement and strode purposefully up and onto the stage. I stood stock still by the microphone and thrust the cracker into the air, paused and exclaimed “It’s a
cracker.” Sedusa came to life. It was not only a catchphrase of the comedian Frank Carson, which some people might have known, but it was obvious humour and I propose a moment of simple clowning that allowed me to connect with my audience. I created laughter and I felt that I generated warm and empathic relationship with the women” .

Learning clowning isn’t just about creating laughter. It involves curiosity, chaos, risk taking and learning how we might perform status. I have attended various business events and have discovered that many people would like to learn to clown. This knowledge has driven me to offer clowning workshops for where people can experience what it is to place oneself in the shoes of a clown. Yet, some people can be unnerved by the title ‘clown’.

Various businesspeople have attended my clowning workshops and I was struck by hearing about one professional businesswoman who had not told her husband that she was attending a female clowning workshop for fear of being ridiculed by him".

Some people fear making a fool of themselves. They are scared of drawing attention to themselves and avoid being looked at by others. Learning a new skill usually involves making errors, yet the clown’s business is making mistakes only to generate wild and wonderful solutions to the problems. 
Finding the pleasure in learning to make clowns of ourselves is at the heart of my teaching.

Many children as they grow older begin to censure themselves; they want to look like everyone else and be socially acceptable. Understanding how one can clown on one’s own terms can lead to empowerment. Whilst a class clown can be deeply destructive, teaching it as a skill leads to a greater discipline and an understanding of how it can impact positively on one’s own life.

Taking a risk might mean making a fool of yourself, yet in an increasingly risk-averse world, I encourage people to let go of their socialized selves and play.