Clowning around: another year, another festival of idiocy as an old art form shows its staying power

CLOWNS USED TO BE a highlight of circuses. But then cinema and TV made them into sinister figures and they never quite recovered. The circus itself looks like an innocent relic from a time years before our era of  on-demand online-entertainment.

But if you have a child with a love of fun, or you recognise the youngster within you, good news: the London Clown Festival is playing in three venues this year 2018, including two pubs in NE London.

This third festival will present established artists alongside new talent from around the world to Farr’s School of Dancing in Dalston; Mirth, Marvel and Maud in Walthamstow, and the Albany in the West End W1W 5QU; giving the festival its first access to the night Tube. 

clownmuseum©DA14: Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin at clowns' museum 071114 Dalston Hackney ©
Secret museum: the little-known and fascinating Clowns’ Gallery behind Beechwood Road’s Holy Trinity Church, Dalston E8 3DY

The festival includes late-night cabarets but it it aims “to celebrate physical comedy and clown-influenced contemporary performance. exploring what clowning is to the modern performer and their audiences”. 

Hamish Scott 300418

* The  London Clown Festival runs from 17 May 2018-3 June 2018. Venues:  Mirth, Marvel and Maud,186 Hoe Street, Walthamstow E17 4QH; the Albany, 240 Great Portland Street W1W 5QU;

Farr’s School of Dancing, 17 Dalston Lane, Hackney E8 3DF. Times vary by event, from early family shows to late evenings. Prices £5 to £12: ticketsNote: the Albany and Farr’s are not fully wheelchair-accessible.

* Backstory: Hallowed be our clowns; Clowns have last laugh in Dalston; Red-nose service seeks a new stage; Dalston’s clowns’ church vicar comes out fighting; Night services on Hackney’s Hipster line

* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained. 

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