Training

The art of clowning is useful in all areas of life.  From getting in touch with your own emotions, to being able to "manage" others.

So, how do we access the world of a clown? Maggie gets people thinking about attitude, curiosity, rhythm, reaction, physicality, the audience and breathing.
Do we need to make people laugh? Well, clowns can and do make us laugh, but sometimes they don’t, or they might make some people laugh but not everybody for many reasons. Clowns have to deal with whatever is happening to them in the moment and somehow find the flow……….. or what Maggie refers to as the clowning zone.
  
Teaching contemporary clowning to both actors and non-performers is an important aim for this theatre practitioner. She sees clowning as a radical and exciting opportunity for people to relinquish their socialised selves and find ways of sharing their curiosity, foolishness and imagination.

TRAINING REVIEWS


"I had the great pleasure of being taught the principles and practical techniques of clowning by Maggie Irving for a module of my Theatre and Performance degree at the University of Plymouth. This time spent in the company of her infectious enthusiasm for and keen expertise on the subject not only influenced the approach I took to performance and the importance of play for the remainder of my studies, it also had a substantial impact on my philosophy on stagecraft, and comedy, in my personal endeavours in theatre that ran parallel to education, and those that continued afterwards."

"I had a history and appreciation of comedic performance prior to the time spent learning to clown, in stand-up comedy, narrative stage comedy, and online comedy serials, but through Maggie's teachings I most certainly enhanced my capacity for truly letting go on stage, losing inhibitions, following and fomenting the spontaneous fun or tomfoolery, and it also kickstarted an intense period of research into Dario Fo, lazzi, clowning as a field, Commedia dell'Arte, stage archetypes and the art of act of performance in serious, meticulous detail. This opened up so many possibilities for me, it gave me realise, substantial building blocks from which to build or construct intricate comedic narrative, dynamic interplay between characters, outrageous set-pieces, and a general thread of bombastic anarchy which I believe, and I learnt, should be the beating heart of any piece of theatre that aims to engage the audience, connect with their humanity or fallibility, and deliver or present, in a satirical context, pertinent questions about the way society works, its ills, sins and oddities. All of this boosted my confidence and deeper understanding of performance to the extent that my friend and I, performing as a double-act, won Talent South-West, a region-wide talent competition, with a set of parodic, quickfiring 'charity muggers' that had direct influence from my time spent learning to clown. This led to many other opportunities, to perform, but also to keep on honing and refining my knowledge in and practice of comedic theatre work."

 "I would say that having my eyes open to the discipline of clowning was invaluable, and in fact changed my life, chiefly by stimulating me to take it all much more seriously, by taking it much less seriously - the joyful irony of clowning, and comedy! I would highly recommend learning to clown, especially with Maggie Irving, for any performer who feels she or he needs to improve their ability to release themselves to their full potential or the acme of creative expression on stage, or for those who want to trace comedy to its ancient origins and thereby equip themselves far better to produce diverse, informed and quality output to the contemporary public, or simply for those people who like to enjoy life, and the absurdities and anomalies of it, and are looking for a new set of skills to learn, or a new adventure to have, or if only to lark about in daft costumes with a bunch of like-minded people and have a good old laugh!" 

"I believe that life is funny, and wonderful, really, and clowning chiefly returns you to that knowledge, even though it may have been shaken by the trials and tribulations of adult reality and its responsibilities along the way, and that, I would say, is really the only motivation you should need. Get back in touch with the big kid inside you that never grew up! Let that big happy grin re-emerge out onto your lined face again, and find yourself growing anew. Sometimes you have to bend down to touch your toes before you can reach back up high again, perhaps. Give it a go, you've got nothing to lose but your mind!!!"


"The freedom of creativity and the lack of boundaries is what attract me to clowning. I love the naivety of the clown and the sense of discovery and being lost in a new world. I love the fact I am allowed to play and be the child that I have to hide on a daily basis. Through my learning I have developed a sense of self belief and confidence. Clowning has allowed me to reconnect with my self and accept all parts of me. It has allowed me to communicate with people on a variety of levels and it has also allowed me to embrace the significant moments in a day that the monotony of life disperses. Above all it feels me with an aura of positivity and allows me to de stress and play."


"I was lucky enough to be taught by Maggie Irving in my first year of a Theatre & Performance degree at Plymouth University and would highly recommend her... great fun, great energy and an amazing area and discipline of performance to experience and train in." Charlie Boyle, 2014

‘Do it. Enjoy it. Feel alive and smile!’

‘Taking a clowning workshop has only benefits whether that be for a day, month, year of for life. The teaching and encouragement has no price. Thank you’

‘Be gentle, courageous, take a risk. Thank you Maggie’

 ‘You will be surprised what you learn’