COMMUNITY /// Mask and Clown Intensive (Baby Clown) led by John Turner

The Manitoulin Conservatory for Creation and Performance

(In partnership with The Red Nose Diaries)


Mask and Clown Intensive (Baby Clown)

Led by John Turner

Artistic Director of the Manitoulin Conservatory for Creation and Performance

April 23-May 8, 2016

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Fee 1300$ (plus GST)

100+ hrs.

Max 16 students

*This course has a rigorous schedule; expect full day classes with one day off, to be determined by the Instructor at the start of the workshop.

It is not necessary to be a performer to take this workshop.

All are welcome, from all walks of life!

A deposit of 650$ is required to guarantee a spot in the class.

For more information or to apply please email Spenser Payne or Alissa Watson

at –

Course Description:

This course is based on the work of Canadian Clown Master Richard Pochinko and has been named many things: From Mask to Clown, Clown Through Mask, or The Baby Clown Workshop (the student’s clown is born at the end).

In this workshop students begin with a focus on listening. The initial exercises are used to awaken and encourage a sense of pleasure, an awareness of the audience, and an honest physical and emotional response to internal impulses and external events. Many exercises are done with eyes closed to help exercise and expand the student’s experience of perception and focus. The body (through specific movement exercises) is approached as a source of visualization for character or story elements through improvisations that include a great deal of work with colors.

Once the color work is done the students are ready for the making and wearing of six masks. This is an involved process of physicalization and visualization, exploring the innocence and experience of eachmask and the relationships between them. The masks are guideposts to the student’s creative playground and as such are also the guideposts to his/her clown. With each mask the student prepares a short turn (sketch) to express the essence of the mask without the use of verbal language. Through these turns and the exercises of the entire workshop the rules of clown emerge giving the student a fundamental understanding of clown and a deeper experience of the elements at play in any performance situation. This workshop is an intense blast and furnishes the student with multiple characters and a malleable structure for continued creative exploration with limitless applications. It is not necessary to be a performer to take this course. All are welcome, from all walks of life.

About the Instructor:

JOHN TURNER is best known as the “Smoot” half of Mump & Smoot, along with Michael Kennard (“Mump”). This award winning Canadian clown duo has delighted audiences throughout North America for the past twenty-eight years. After three sold out Fringe Festival tours in 1989, 1990, and 1992, Mump & Smoot went on to play regional theatres across the continent with great success.

These theatres include the Astor Place Theater (Off Broadway), Yale Repertory Theater, the La Jolla Playhouse, the Dallas Theater Center, the American Repertory Theater (Boston), Baltimore Center Stage, the Canadian Stage in Toronto, Alberta Theatre Projects in Calgary, and the Vancouver East Cultural Centre to name but a few.

John began teaching the Pochinko style of clown in 1991 at Equity Showcase in Toronto. He taught there for 7 years before opening his own studio, The SPACE, with Michael Kennard where he continued to teach, direct, and work on Mump & Smoot shows for the next 6 years. He currently teaches primarily throughout the summer on his farm on Manitoulin Island. He also has had ongoing teaching gigs at Laurentian University in the Francophone drama programme (14 years), the Centre for Indigenous Theatre (6 years) and the De-ba-jeh-mu-jig Theatre Company (5 years). Other teaching stints haveincluded the Yale School of Drama Graduate Program where he was an associate artist for seven years, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (Workman Theatre Project), the University of Tel Aviv, the University of Calgary, Bishops University, the University of Guelph, California State University, Michigan Tech, the Humber Comedy Centre and the Stratford Festival.

John is also the director of Karen Hines’ Citizen Pochsy, one of the acclaimed trilogy of Pochsy Playson which John has collaborated for over a decade, (nominated for the Governor General’s Award for Drama).

Other directing credits include Sandrine Lafond’s Little Lady, Michael Kennard’s Puzzle Me Red, Miriam Cusson and Mélissa Rockburn’s Stuff, Diana Kolpak’s Lionheart, Emelia Symington Fedy’s Patti Fedy in Lovers Rock. For the De-ba-jeh-mu-jig Theatre Group, John directed the workshop and full production of The Gulch, as well as Tomson Highway’s A Trickster Tale. John also directed Clown & Such… at the Centre for Indigenous Theatre, Louis Negin’s The Boy Scouts’ Manual, and Linda Brokenshire’s The Lecture and The Hero.

Along with his long time partner and collaborator Michael Kennard, John has used his extensive performance and show creation experience to create more advanced workshops specifically designed for the student that wishes to use this work in a professional capacity. Some are performance oriented and some are creation oriented but there are as many reasons for taking them as there are students.

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