Circus News

Therapeutic Clowning Course Trains the Next Generation of Healthcare Clowns

American comedian and entertainer Milton Berle said that laughter is the best medicine in the world. For years, the clown’s main task has been to make people laugh. Therapeutic clowning is the merging of these two realms, laughter and healthcare, in order to bring some “lightness and joy in a place where sadness, trauma, and boredom often reside” according to Helen Donnelly.

Donnelly has been a professional healthcare clown, or therapeutic clown, for the past 15 years. In this time she has worked tirelessly in the field. She has clowned for various reputable healthcare facilities, created and instructed the first therapeutic clowning certificate course in North America, and founded The Red Nose Remedy, an organization dedicated to continuing education and finding employment for therapeutic clowns in Ontario, Canada.  From the Stage Floor to the Hospital Floor Prior to all of this, Donnelly was working as a successful theatrical and circus clown when she was approached by a friend to audition to be a therapeutic healthcare clown. “It had never occurred to me that you could do clowning in a hospital setting,” she says. “I thought that just sounds like something that would be too hard on the heart and I can’t imagine ever doing that and no...

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Jackie Houghton

Jackie Houghton is a recreational circus performer, elementary school teacher, and freelance writer. When she is not teaching visual arts to school children, Jackie dreams about running away with the circus, but until then she is happy to write about it. She has been the exclusive writer for Femmes du Feu's Circus Sessions residency program for the past two years, and has also written for Circus Talk and American Circus Educators magazine.