On Being Clown: Failing and Reconciling in Canada

January 21, 2017 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

River Run Centre, Cooperators’ Hall

Guelph, 35 Woolwich St. N1H3V1

(519) 763-3000

Organized By

Arts Everywhere

Performance by clown artists Julia Lane, Jan Henderson, Christine Lesiak, Barry Bilinsky, Mike Kennard, Heather Annis, and Amy Lee.
Music performance by Tara Williamson.

For settlers, reconciliation requires the ability and the will to acknowledge, to absorb, and confront our failures. Throughout our lives we are taught to avoid and erase failure, and to seek out and embody the familiar markers of success defined by the dominant culture. As a practice embedded in several cultures and traditions, clowning disrupts conventional understanding of, and relationships to failure and success. For the clown, the path to success is often informed and enriched through a fearless relationship with failure. Given this unique privileging of the potential and possibilities achieved through failure, clowns may be well positioned to offer unique insights and tools into actions of advancing (radical) reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in the place we now call Canada.

What does it mean to be a clown? Who are the contemporary Canadian Clowns? Where are they? How did they get there and, oh my, what are they doing? We have gathered together five influential clown performers and one clown moderator, whose work stems from distinct traditions and whose performative styles vary widely. The six contemporary artists will put their heads (and possibly also the rest of their bodies) together, to consider the tradition of clowning in Canada, the notion of failure, and its role in the reconciliation process. This hybrid discussion/performance promises to be insightful, eventful, impactful, disruptive, distinct, distinguished, and, above all, thought provoking. Please come prepared to throw your questions out to the panel and see what they can make of them.

This event was co-curated by  Julia Lane, a clown scholar at the University of British Columbia, and Elwood Jimmy, program coordinator at Musagetes.

Tickets: $20 adults/$15 students. Click here to purchase tickets.