Curious Arts got a backstage pass to see what the students of the annual U of A Clown Workshop were doing at the end of their first week.

We walked in to their classroom to see this:

This is one of the early steps for each student in finding their inner clown or Fool. This particular exercise involves closing one’s eyes while listening to an audible rhythm, and letting it guide you in shaping the clay.


Students are eventually allowed to open their eyes and finish shaping their mould. It will eventually have paper mache applied to it, creating the mask that will become part of their physical character.

The clay goes from an extremely abstract mass to a face, sometimes even that of an animal.


The workshop is led by Jan Henderson, one of Canada’s leading clown and mask teachers. For over 30 years, she has been helping people get in touch with their most authentic, playful and creative core self —their Inner Fool — and using it to enrich their personal and professional lives.

“The ultimate goal is for each person to find their inner personal clown or alter-ego Fool character,” she says. “It’s a mask technique to find it, so this is training in how to trust that a mask is an intuitive script. The only way to find out who it is, is by wearing it.”

Stay tuned for more fascinating behind-the-scenes photos of these students as they bring their characters to life…!

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