When Clowns Fight The Power

Clown and activism may seem like an odd couple, but embedded in the nature of clown is the spirit of joy and resistance to oppressive forces. This series features a selection of folx from around the world who are all part of a long and diverse heritage of clown activists. From rural villages to urban centers, from popular protests to refugee camps, each of our contributors use grit and humor to activate their communities toward equity and justice. This series shows how effective clown-based activism can be at subverting bigots and in cultivating hope in hard-hit communities. We also see how the laughter they provoke has a disarming effect on spectators, creating an opening for vital messages to be heard. So when clowns are invited to help, they have the makings to be a powerful gift to social justice movements. And as we here in the United States have just undergone a presidential election, feeling the deep exhaustion of this time, we heed the call to send in the clowns, with their relentless, life-giving hope.

three people standing outside
Liberating Terror
Essay

Liberating Terror

Clown and Activism

13 November 2020

Sayda Trujillo talks about white supremacy’s prevalence in clown pedagogy and shares how the invincible spirit of the clown has shaped her, “seeping through every tiny crack possible to make itself present to speak, to laugh, to sing, to bounce, to witness, and to encounter.”

a clown kissing a clear riot shield
Antiauthoritarian Clowning
Essay

Antiauthoritarian Clowning

A Tactical Review

12 November 2020

L.M. Bogad shares the story of the beginnings of Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army, several tenets of “clownfrontational” tactics, examples of rebel clowning in a different contexts, and more.

three clowns posing with a handmade banner
Action and Reaction / Acción Y Reacción
Essay

Action and Reaction / Acción Y Reacción

The Experience of a Chilensis Clown Circus Theatre Company / Experiencia de una compañía chilensis de circo teatro payasx

11 November 2020

Members of Chile’s Compañía Siató—Valentina Paz Berger Correa, Jean Carlo Montecinos Carreño, Hernán Enrique Huerta Vargas, and Felipe Jesús Pereira Godoy—discuss clowning across Latin America; their show Sacrilegio, which denounces and ridicules religion, the church, and the police; the political duty of the artist; and more.

triptych of three clowns
A Very Very Very Serious Clown from Lebanon
Essay

A Very Very Very Serious Clown from Lebanon

10 November 2020

Amrita Dhaliwal and Nathaniel Justiniano speak with Lebanese humanitarian clown Sabine Choucair, covering the differences between clowning and bouffon, joining the revolution, environmental work, and more.

a group posing for a photo in front of a white van with "democracy" written on it
Can a Clown Be an Activist?
Essay

Can a Clown Be an Activist?

9 November 2020

Nathaniel Justiniano and Amrita Dhaliwal kick off the clown, bouffon, and activism series, talking about how the clown world has a racism problem and introducing the four contributors who practice their art around the world.

Bookmark this page

Log in to add a bookmark

Series are collections of content curated around a specific theme. HowlRound works with curators to develop topical pieces meant to spotlight current events and happenings within the commons.