BODY WILDERNESS 2013: with Fiona Griffiths at the Manitoulin Conservatory, Manitoulin Island, Ontario
July 25 – 28, 2013 (travel days July 24 & 29)
All clowns need access to the sensory, feeling and intuitive bodies to augment interpretation, amplify authenticity, increase performance range and nurture artistic growth. This course will consist of a fun and eclectic mix of techniques to deepen the commitment to the clown and source new material for turns. As you explore your body, mind and emotions as instruments of expressive skills (peeling away layers of physical and emotional tension); the body relaxes, listening improves, and personal ways of moving are revealed. Intuitive responses to impulses can then be explored and embodied, leading to a greater sense of the self in motion. We can then take the self into the clown and with greater freedom discover the clown’s hearts desire, wisdom and vision.  Work will entail a body paper (prepared before the course starts), clustering, painting, ball work, authentic movement, emotional wheels, creature experiences and a source room (a place where all aspects of your clown can be experienced). Prepare to be intimidated, thrilled, moved, enlightened, inspired and surprised by the riches you can bring to your clown. <p align=”center”><strong>Camping is provided on site along with BBQ’s, sun showers, coolers, toilets and 90 acres of nature. Cottages are nearby for a reasonable sum. Pickups provided from Sudbury and the Ferry terminal and carpooling is encouraged.
$350 + $45 HST = $395.00
Deposit $75.00 by June 24 (non-refundable after July 15)

Clowning Around with Shakespeare 2013:
with Fiona Griffiths
February 4 – March 25, 2013,</strong> (off Feb.18),
Mondays 5:30-7:30 pm
$180.00 (U of T students and staff); $270.00 (non-members) Debates Room, Hart House, University of Toronto.
For registration please contact Hart House at</p> <p align=”center”><a href=””></a></p>

“The Fool knows that the only true madness is to recognize this world as rational.”
– Jan Kott

The clowns are doing the Bard and they do him so well.  Bring in your favourite Shakespeare passage and we will find the ‘clown within’ to animate those grand speeches. the clown will tackle the text, wrestle meaning and emotion from it and emerge victorious with a fun and fulfilling interpretation of Shakespeare’s powerful and moving prose.  In this course we will explore basic elements of clown and Bouffon, image streaming and physical theatre. With these skills the clown will tackle the text, wrestle meaning and emotion from it and emerge victorious with a fun and fulfilling interpretation of Shakespeare’s powerful and moving prose. Only play, imagination and tom-foolery will be tolerated. This is a course for all those in love with the bard with or without clown experience. A note: Keep your speech succinct and learn it as best you can before the first class. Read the play or look it up on Wikipedia- noting the story line and biography of your character.

‘That, of course, is the great secret of the successful fool – that he is no fool at all.’
– Isaac Asimov, Guide to Shakespeare


Student Testimonials

“She is a clown. She is encouraging. She is fun.”

“Fiona knows how to motivate and create the necessary environment.”

“Approachable, dynamic, really strives to communicate clearly and support us in the often scary task of vulnerability.”

” I learned the ability to be fearlessly spontaneous and that failure can sometimes be more enjoyable than success as there’s often more to discover in it.”

“Moments to celebrate our animalness, our humanness, our larger sense of God, moments when we touch each other deeply in a moment of laughter.”

— Richard Pochinko

Send in the Clown
Posted By Graham F. Scott On March 16, 2010 @ 12:32 pm
In Life on Campus, Spring 2010
Fiona Griffiths’ character Mabel is a ballerina who longs to dance Swan Lake.

“Everybody needs to play,” says Fiona Griffiths, the actor and choreographer who recently taught an eight-week course in clowning at Hart House. “That’s the really great thing about clowning – we get to play. We think that as adults we shouldn’t.” “Clowning Around” was part of Hart House’s Creative Classes, a series of courses in acting, filmmaking and photography introduced last fall. While clowning is great training for actors, she says – allowing them to dig deeper into their characters and act instinctually and authentically onstage – anyone can benefit from unearthing their inner clown. “There are therapeutic benefits of laughter,” says Griffiths. “It relieves stress, stimulates your immune system and improves oxygenation. Your dopamine receptors go crazy.”

Griffiths is a veteran of Canada’s small but vibrant clowning scene, and she travels prepared: at one point she roots around her purse and triumphantly produces a red nose, which she waggles at the end of its elastic strap. “I never travel without an emergency nose,” she says with a laugh. But for Griffiths, laughter isn’t the only emotion involved in clowning. She is a devotee of Pochinko Clowning, a deeply emotive style – in contrast to the highly stylized and structured clowning of the European tradition – developed by the Canadian Richard Pochinko in the 1970s. It encourages unstructured play and mask work to promote a state of emotional freedom. Often that emotion is joy – but not always. Griffiths’ first clown character was Mabel, a failed ballerina who longs to dance <em>Swan Lake</em> but instead ends up choking to death on spaghetti at her own birthday party (at which she is the only attendee). The performance itself is a piece of slapstick, rooted in deep melancholy. “Clowns tell the truth,” says Griffiths, and sometimes that truth is ugly. Griffiths’ Hart House class, though, accentuated the positive, to create a feel-good bubble where grown-ups could forget their jobs, PhD theses or mortgages and concentrate on just having fun again, through music, movement and improvisational games. “I’ve noticed over the years that students are more and more out of their body,” says Griffiths, noting they can be wrapped up with their Blackberrys, high-def TVs and Facebook statuses. Clowning, she says, helps them “connect with themselves again.” Griffiths adds: “The only technology is the red nose.”

Click here for article printed from University of Toronto Magazine.

SourceWork Weekend 2012: with Fiona Griffiths

Mar 9, 10 & 11, Fri: 6-10, Sat/Sun 10-5,
$200.00 Special offer: Full series: $225.00
(students M&I: $80.00, SW: $150.00)
Registration and $50.00 deposit
deadline: January 10/12 at
Tarragon Theatre Studios, 30 Bridgman Ave. (TTC: Dupont/BUS: Bathurst St.)

“The awakened body takes initiatives, is no longer content to receive or to’ put up with’. When we live in our body, we give body to our life.”
Therese Bertherat

This series is an exploration of  body theatre and will enable the performer to train up aspects of their craft to elicit image, action and narrative. Warm ups will feature body literacy work exploring presence and action from impulse and the afternoons will feature experiences to enable the performer to mine their own body for sources of creation and imagination. We will investigate guidelines to evaluate work and explore the performative elements of Present yourself, Take me into your world and Leave me with a new awareness. Possible curriculum can include Four Basic Bodies (open, bound, grotesque and beautiful), emotional wheels and body part & creature Rivers. Fiona will adjust the curriculum to meet the needs of the group. This work is open to people who are active in all aspects of performance: acting, dance, clown and bouffon and have a basic level of  physical skills.