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What’s So Funny? (Clown Intensive with Claire Woolner)

June 8th – June 9th

12pm – 4pm


In stock



“Honest is Funny and Funny is Honest.” — Claire, just now.

Trying to be funny isn’t very funny. But oh my word is it funny to be authentic. The clown, above all, seeks to be one hundred percent purely, authentically (even overly and embarrassingly) committed to the truth in the moment. And hence, the ha-ha.

In this two-day workshop, explore how chasing beauty, depth and vulnerability on stage can lead to comedy on a level that hits harder than you could have ever imagined. Find the funny through the not-so-funny and be amazed by the hilarity in being exactly who you are. We will use writing and performance prompts and exercises designed to reveal and break down beliefs about what is and isn’t funny, what should and shouldn’t be shown on stage, and what is and isn’t the fourth wall. The clown doesn’t adhere to (or even understand) the societal constructs around us, so embodying our clowns gives us permission to dissolve made-up rules and connect with ourselves and the audience to find the ha-ha and boo-hoo in truly profound ways.

A safe (but deep) dive into the parts we don’t want to show, where we can find the power of clowning, guided by Claire Woolner, an award-winning absurdist comedian and clown who has earned her accolades by crying on stage so much that the audience laughs and sometimes even tell her she has changed their lives (lol). There is no pressure to be, do or make anything funny–we will just explore the depths and see where they lead. But my gut tells me we’re gonna find some pretty absurdly hilarious shit.

This is a two-day intensive workshop that will be held at Fallout Theater, located at 616 Lavaca St in downtown Austin, June 8th and 9th, from 12pm to 4pm each day. Your class registration fee is for both days of the workshop. Please note: workshop purchases are non-refundable. 


CLAIRE WOOLNER trained and performed with Cirque du Soleil’s John Gilkey, was a member of The Idiot Workshop’s Flagship clown ensemble The Murge (directed by Gilkey), and runs the clown incubation theater PDA. She has taught clowns across the country and helped usher many a clown show into the ether. Her newest solo clown show A Retrospection was awarded Top of the Fringe (Hollywood Fringe Festival ‘23), Platinum Medal (Hollywood Fringe Festival ‘23), Encore Producer’s Award (Hollywood Fringe Festival ‘23), enjoyed a sold out run at Edinburgh Fringe 2023 with four and five star reviews, and was The New York Times’ comedy pick for “What To Do In New York”.

“Ultimately, her absurdism answers one question: What if the performance artist Marina Abramovic were a clown?” — The New York Times

“A frantic and bewildering mash-up of clowning and performance art that is far more accessible and emotional than should be possible.” — The Wee Review

“There is courage in her clowning, and salvation in our laughter.” — The TVolution

“A clown, but one whose nose is only red because it’s been smeared with blood following another primal scream of a scene.” — Chortle

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