2020 has been quite a year so far, hasn’t it?
For some of us it has flown by, while for others each week is an eternity, and for most, it’s been a combination of both.
Isolation has been hard for many of us. We miss our fellow performers, collaborators, all Why Notters and our special clown community. The thought of not being able to get together in a room, not being able to hug each other, or play together, is hard. These past few months almost all of us have had feelings of panic, anxiety, fear, despair and grief.
However, The Why Not Institute is a community, and we must stick together! We can draw on each other for resilience, exercise our resourcefulness and creativity and find new was to support each other, and we’ve been thinking of as many ways as we can to reach out and keep in contact with you all over the past few months. Not everything can work online, some things need a human, face-to-face connection that Zoom cannot replicate, but until that’s possible, we’ll do what we can, to create a connection through things that are simple, fun, nice and kind.
2020 is the Why Not Institute’s 21st birthday, and like many 21 year olds, this year has been full of new experiences, as Lockdown has meant that The Why not Institute, and de Castro, has had to learn to embrace the world through the web! (the kids still say the web, right?).
In May connected with fellow Why Notters to HUGS! A very sweet project featuring over 20 clowns from the UK, Norway, Finland, Hong Kong and the US, sending in clips to virtually wrap our arms around you and remind us all that The Why Not Institute is truly a community. Watch the video to enjoy a virtual hug here on our new Youtube Channel!
De Castro also appeared on a Podcast for the first time, speaking to Clowning Around Podcast’s Emma Stroud, Available on Spotify , Apple Podcasts and wherever else you can find Podcasts.
In June we launched our first ever online course, HaHarmonics, with nearly two dozen participants, some familiar faces and some brand new to The Institute. We worked with Guilherme Miranda and Madá Nery to perfect our voices for “I’ll Be There,” while Alex Tabrizi, Becky Illsey and de Castro worked with participants to devise our Clown Choir Choreography, which participants have recorded and Alex is putting together, it will be released soon! We promise!

This July we’re focusing on finding a new home for The Why Not Institute, for the last few years we’ve been a tenant at the wonderful Stratford Circus Arts Centre unfortunately as it faces closure we find ourselves searching for a new home. If you have, or no of an arts space looking for a lovely new tenant please let us know! We need to be in London, although very tempted by Brighton, other than that all we need is some storage space for props/equipment, books and a desk! You can read our full proposal here. If you have a venue, or know of one we should approach let us know by emailing whynotinstitute@aol.com.

We’re also looking taking the Choir forward to form the Why Not Singers, and, as lockdown eases, we’re planning our Winter Clown School for January/February 2021. We do love working with our international community too though! So we’re considering what we can offer online for everyone, if you have a suggestion of something you’d like to see online please let us know!

Throughout August and beyond we’d love to use our platform to help spread the wonderful work that Why Notters are doing themselves! If you have any video clips, artwork, photos, trailers, or anything similar that you’d like us to share please email us and send us a link, we’d love to share it on our Social Media.
We’re also about to premiere HUGS at our very first Why Not Café, an online gathering where we can meet together, chat and catch up with course colleagues. If you’d like us to arrange a Why Not Café with your fellow Why Notters please email us and tell us which course you did (month and year) and if there is anyone in particular you’d like to catch up with.

We’re also hoping that in 2021 we can celebrate our 22nd birthday with the Why Not Festival! We had originally planned the Festival for April-May 2020 at Jacksons Lane, We had shows, workshops, speakers, events all booked. It was going to be a brilliant celebration not just of clowning but of how the Institute has survived and thrived over two decades, making links with many hundreds of clowns, performers, enthusiasts, people from all over the world, a big party to celebrate our wonderful community. Lockdown meant it wasn’t possible this year, but as The Institute is still thriving and we still have you all, we want to make sure we have this celebration as soon as it is possible! Who knows, maybe this means that when it does happen it’ll just be bigger and better!
We did a small clip of what was going to happen at the festival, take a look at what was planned and what we hope to do in future here: https://youtu.be/uqj5QcFrQxs