|It used to be that every person who dreamed of
becoming a clown also dreamed of attending the Ringling Brothers and
Barnum and Bailey Clown College. For 30 years Clown College taught
the basics -- how to apply your clown makeup, how to take a pie
thrown at your big clown nose, and to fall down without hurting
Clown College was the brainchild of Irvin Feld. In 1968,
the clown profession seemed to be dwindling and -- Ringling Bros.
and Barnum and Bailey Circus had only a dozen clowns, most of them
getting older by the day. Irvin Feld wanted to make sure there
were clowns well into the future.
So the college directors held auditions at colleges and theatres
around the country. Hundreds of would-be clowns showed their stuff .
The competition was intense. Only 30 new clowns were accepted
into each year's class.
There, they donned large shoes and baggy pants to learn about
makeup, juggling and the fine art of falling down. They took classes
in stilt-walking, gymnastics, juggling, and mime.
The classes were free and the best of the graduates took their
large clown shoes on the road with the Greatest Show on Earth.
But the Clown College became a victim of its own success.
In 1998, there were about over a thousand trained clowns and
there was little danger of the profession dying out. So
Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus decided to stop offering
eight-week introductory classes in funny stuff in
But what's an aspiring clown going to do today ?
Once choice is today's version of Clown College. It lives on in the educational
initiatives of three nationally-touring units of Ringling Bros. and
Barnum & Bailey Circus. Here, the next generation of circus clowns learns
the skills and traditions: character
development, improvisation, makeup, gag development, prop
and costume construction, acrobatics, dance and the physical skills
of slaps and falls, stilt-walking, unicycling, juggling and much
And another choice is that some of the graduates of previous Clown College
classes have taken on the
task of teaching the new generation of clowns on with Clowns Schools, all
over the world.
So check out the hyperlink of Clown Schools. There we have listed the
active Clown Schools that teach the newest generation of clowns.