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Where can I learn to be a Care Clown?

Discussion in 'Hospital Clowning' started by Harry the Ridiculous, May 29, 2011.

  1. Harry the Ridiculous

    Harry the Ridiculous Professor of the Ridiculous

    I am seeking help in locating an educational source where I can certify as a "Care Clown". The different Clown Camps offer some basic courses, however I am looking for something more advanced.
    If any body knows of a source, please let me know.
    The university of Haifa Israel offers a Bachelors Degree in "Medical Clowning" but that would be a rough commute from SW Florida.
    Thank you
  2. Fitzwilly

    Fitzwilly COAI Secretary

    • Thanks Thanks x 2
  3. tim

    tim Have red nose, will travel

    Probably the most top notch training and certification/ongoing education you are going to find will be with Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit. Whether you can catch on with them is another matter, as I think they are somewhat selective. But if you are as serious as you say, that is THE program to pursue.
  4. Harry the Ridiculous

    Harry the Ridiculous Professor of the Ridiculous

    Thank you

    Thank you for the replies, I have since sent E mails to the information all of you provided. I need more just the Do's and Don'ts, for one thing would like to learn how to start, maintain and improve on programs for my "One Clown, One Ring, Mini Circus" at the veterans home where I live.
  5. Salvo The Clown

    Salvo The Clown Active Member

    Although England UK would be an equally rough commute from SW Florida others may also be researching this subject may I therefore suggest the following link to assist them and you with your enquiry http://www.annualclownsdirectory.com/trade.php?cat=22 which is a link to the The Theodora Children's Trust which trains, funds and send clown doctors to bring music, laughter, and magic to children in hospital.
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  6. Zeeppo

    Zeeppo New Member

    The honest truth is there is no way to certify clowns, Therapy Clowns or otherwise. My troupe does this sort of thing and not once has someone asked if we were certified. It is a bit like looking for a certified handy man. They don't really exist. Some are insureds and bonded but there is no organization that certifies them.

    The COAI chapter in Miami has four or five very active people visiting kids in hospital. At least they did a couple years ago. That is probably your best bet for finding other people in your state that do it.

    As for do's and don'ts there is a book entitled Bed Side Manners. I forget who it is written by but it is still in print. It is not written for clowns, still, it has many idea on how to visit someone and how to deal with hospital and nursing homes.

    As for clowning itself the best thing is to have the most skills possible and know a boat load of jokes. Juggling, close up magic, playing an instrument ( a small one) even origami are great things for a hospital visit (Most places do not allow balloons anymore.).

    Jokes and Humorous stories are something that you really want to work on. A couple month ago I was visiting kids in the hospital with two of my young apprentices. We had to visit a blind six year old girl. The majority of my skills were useless. I told an elephant jokes that did not get much of a laugh and then a knock knock joke. the knock knock joke was what she wanted to hear. I personally hate them. I told the three good ones I could remember and was out of material. Fortunately one of my companions knew more knock knock jokes than any sane person should know. She did ten minutes on knock knock jokes. And the young girl had some of her own. She went from ignoring the tv when we walked in to actively engaged in something. She had been there for five days and had not once gone into the play room with the other kids. By the time our rounds got us to the playroom she was telling knock knock jokes (that she stole) to the kids in the play room. When we did our juggling and magic show for the kids she insisted on coming up with us and tell some more jokes.

    Another couple random things.

    Medical people seam to respond better to the term Humor Therapy. I believe Caring Clown was made up Big Bertha as a PR thing. And as we can see from this site not all clowns care.

    Get a partner. Even a novice who is good at telling jokes is a great asset in room hopping. Many times you will not be able to play off the patient so you can play off them.

    When visiting kids or people of diminished capacity simplify. Big shoes and a complex clown face can scare some people. Some folks say that a complex face is the mark of a great clown. In this arena it is the mark of bad clown that is going to cause pain. You have to be willing to tailor you act for who you are preforming for.

    By the way Willy if that is your face on this avatar you have a great face for Humor Therapy. There are few sharp edges and nothing that make you look especially inhuman. Your mouth accents your smile and your eyes project warmth.

    Use an escort. If the hospital is will to provide you someone to take you room to room let them. Have that person go in first and ask if they want a clown show. It weeds out the people who don't want to see you. It also make the patient feel in control. They have all kinds of people barging into their room. If they have to let you in it makes them feel better or at least in control. Something we like to do is ask people if they want to see each part of the act. Once again giving them the control. Also when visiting kids stay out of sight until you are allowed in.

    Humor Therapy is more complicate then making someone forget their problems. You want to make them feel in charge, let them order you around a bit. Let your audience feel they are better than you. I do a forgetful schtick where I don't remember words and have the patient fill them in for me.

    In Norman Cousin's book (Anatomy or an Illness another good read) he watched old Candid Camera Episodes and Three Stooges Shorts. It made him feel better to see people doing stupid stuff. Personal pride is your worst enemy in Humor Therapy.

    I hope this helps some.
  7. KageTomari

    KageTomari prolific poster....

    wooow you know lots & lots im really curious about the knock knock jokes could you tell me the knock knock jokes please

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