Spotlight On: NY Clown Theatre Fest 

Christopher Borg 


2009 Caffe Cino recipient, The Brick, is an indie theatre mainstay located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. In addition to the Caffe Cino Award, the Brick has received and been nominated for numerous IT Awards in many categories including 2 awards for Outstanding Production of a Play (Bouffon Glass Menajoree and Samuel & Alasdair: A Personal History of the Robot War).

Additionally, the Brick has produced a score of unusual and avant-guarde festivals and has hosted some of indie theater’s most innovative artists, including Annie Baker, Young Jean Lee, The Debate Society, Banana Bag & Bodice, Thomas Bradshaw, Kirk Wood Bromley and Jollyship the Whiz-Bang’s Nick Jones.

At the end of this summer The Brick is bringing their annual, international clown festival back to New York for a 7th year with 150 clown artists from 16 countries participating this year to celebrate the art of theatre clowning, including performers from Finland, Mexico, France, New Zealand and Wales.

Says Managing Director, Gyda Arber: "We've got artists from across the globe coming to NYC to celebrate the art of theater clowning with us, and we can't wait!"

Since its inception in 2006, The NY Clown Theatre Festival has become one of the country’s preeminent annual, international Clown Theater festivals and has hosted hundreds of artists representing all types of clown artistry.

This year’s event includes 34 shows in 24 days and will include: classes and workshops taught by visiting renowned clown teachers, free lectures, a clown-sourced iPhone-created silent film project, and a performance by the co-creator and lead performer of Cirque de Soleil’s Ovo!.

In addition to the international artists, New York Artists participating include Will Shaw, Barbara Ann Michaels, and Alan Fessenden from New York, Jay Dunn & John Leo, Lauri Berritta, Andy Dickerson, Perry Garvin, Ethan Leinwand, Jason Leinwand, and Deborah Kaufmann from Brooklyn; Nina Levine of Queens and Adam G. Gertsacov from the Acme Clown Company in Yonkers.

There will be free events for the opening on Friday, September 7th, including an opening Parade, a Pie Fight and a Free Clown Cabaret. The opening Parade will include marchers, unicyclers, jugglers, and a roller boogie.

The opening festivities are best described in the press release:

“[It starts at 5:30 at Union Square] then we turn the L train into the ultimate clown car, and pop back out at the Bedford stop for general communing with the Williamsburg hipsteratti. We’ll continue the ruckus down Bedford Avenue, stopping for photo ops at McCarren Park Running Track and outdoor gym where clowns will train for the 2012 Clown Olympics. After training, the parade will conclude at The Brick, home of the
festival, where a massive public pie fight will ensue.”

The free festival preview cabaret follows that evening.

The Clown Festival will close on September 30th with a clown procession, funeral & memorial service described as winding its way through Williamsburg with “morbid buffoonery, audience participation, and the choral singing of sacred hymns.”

“As clown mourners follow the casket to its final destination at The Brick, the bereaved are likely to cry out in anguish to unsuspecting passersby, wail hysterically on the hoods of parked cars, and periodically trip over the coffin.”

The funeral procession will be followed by a closing party.

The Festival runs from September 7 through September 30 at The Brick, please visit for a full schedule of events.


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