London Clown Festival returns at Soho Theatre

Festival showcases theatre, comedy and contemporary clowns of all shapes and sizes

REUTERS July 11, 2024
No longer just about a red nose, clowning has evolved away from traditional stereotypes. Photo: File


From a diva commanding the stage to a punk-rock loving hooligan, a new generation of clowns took to the stage on Monday night at the start of a London festival celebrating contemporary clowning.

Running until July 26, the London Clown Festival showcases clowning and physical performance from Britain and other countries.

“(When) people think about clowning, they think of a red nose or makeup or maybe a children’s entertainer. They might be surprised that a lot of our clowns don’t wear makeup, and they come in all shapes and sizes,” festival artistic director Dan Lees told Reuters. “We use all kinds of theatre, comedy and it draws on anything influenced by contemporary clowning.”

Lees, who launched the festival in 2016, said clowning was “a resurging art form”. The festival’s line-up includes the silent clowning act “Furiozo”, described as “an aggressive hooligan with a giant heart” and diva “Madame Senorita”, who teases her audience.

Riss Obolensky, who hosted Monday’s opening cabaret at the Soho Theatre in central London, said the public’s perception had changed as clowning has evolved away from the traditional stereotypes. “More and more people are, like, ‘Oh, I know what clowning is’...they know people who have trained in it or...they know what it involves,” Obolensky said.


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