Clown Sing: Vocal Improvisation & Clowning

Why Kim and Margot are Singing with Big Red Noses and Why You’ll Join Us!

At a recent training I (Kim Goodliffe) discovered that clowning is fun and also a great process for vocal improvisers. Our Vancouver-based facilitator, Txi Whizz, told us the story of Bouffon clowns, a gang that lives in a deep underground cave and comes up to the surface to play games. While their raison d’être is to play, move, vocalize and do whatever they can to crack up the audience, the Bouffon are also a little nervous about leaving the safety of their underground clown gang. So, they like to cluster in close contact – hands or shoulders touching – a reminder that  they’re all in it together.

I was intrigued by these brave and earthy creatures and pictured them climbing up through tangled tree roots, passing burrows of moles and rabbits. The light would be blinding as they emerged to form a tight group and, one by one, step forward to give generously and playfully to the audience.

Margot and I decided to offer Clown Sing as a series so that we could build skills and other-creature-ness. Each week we could add a layer of costume. Little by little we could explore personal language, songs, cluster formations and personal clown dance. Our intention is to become a gang of clowns from deep within the earth, using embodied listening and group movement skills that can be done seated or standing.

When I took Margot through some of the exercises, she remarked, “Being in the spotlight can make us shy or scared. I love how we get to express that and dispel that through clowning.” I had to agree. Yes, we clowns get scared, and yet it’s our job to show everyone we’re scared. Once we step out in front of the cluster fear can turn to fascination. We make a movement with an elbow or foot, or make a sound. Fascination can turn to excitement and exuberance. When we’re done dancing our name, we can retreat back to the safety of the group where we are welcomed and congratulated.

If you like to vocalize and are tempted to try some clowning techniques, Margot and I invite you to join us in a 3-part series starting on Monday, May 7 at the Lynn Wylie studio. Additional class details below.

Clown Sing: Vocal Improvisation & Clowning. 

Come Play with Kim and Margot as they invite vocal improv into bouffon clowning. It’s fun. It’s for the kid in all of us! Shy, serious or closet clowns, beginner or experienced: all welcome!

Date: 3 Mondays, May 7, 14, 21, 2018 

Time: 7:30 to 9:00 pm

Cost: $60 (includes tax) / Pre-registration required

Location: #202-1600 Bay Street, Victoria (Lynne Wylie Yoga Studio) *Please note this is a fragrance free studio.

For more information or to register email Kim Goodliffe at