Bouffon Clowns and Masks

Bouffon workshopBouffon Clowns

The Bouffons are a group of outsiders, masters of the game who love to play with simplicity and joy. They are spontaneous, hilariously funny and free from inhibition. They are equals, with no authority figures or power structure they function as one. They communicate with simplicity and honesty in a constant search for the greatest performance game ever played. The bristle with imagination and take on the roles of the powerful and play with social rules and taboos.

Learning to be a bouffon performer is fun while at the same time personally challenging. It is a process of finding fun in the simple things and sharing this pleasure with a group with openness and honesty.

Over a period of 10 years we have developed and adapted the style for community groups. We have broken down the elements of this work which include:

• Play, learn by experience, through fun, practical exercises and questioning.

• The group, developing complicity with personal and group awareness.

• Emotions, learn to identify feelings and play with them as a performer?

• Social rules, explore social rules and why do we abide them?

• Boundaries, interactive performance can sometimes challenge social boundaries, recognising this quickly keeps the performer safe.

• The unknown, interacting with an environment trusting the group will be able to support you


Our masks are designed taking inspiration from Commedia Dell’Arte, an Italian mask tradition. They are colourful and engage people instantly. We use masks as physical and very tactile stimulus to engage participants in discussions. Masks have an ability to take us away from ourselves and explore the concept of personal change. People who have never seen a mask before put it on and with imagination and energy immediately transform their physicality to fit their new appearance. Adding a piece of costume or a wig the participant is transformed into a place where they are free to play and explore.

With our designer it is possible for the group to create their own masks for performance.