The Why Not Institute has been supporting generations of clowns for 21 years, so we are delighted to celebrate this birthday with the launch of The ‘Why Not’ Festival of Clowning, in collaboration with Jacksons Lane.

This festival honours the rich history in the tradition of clowning, while simultaneously looking forward to ask how the art form will develop in the future.


HaHarmonics: The Why Not Clown Choir Workshop.
Join us as we bring out the essential paradox of a group of clowns singing the same songs in the same key and at the same time!
This workshop is open to anyone who wants to develop their rhythm and pitch, develop a better ear and sing together with others in a clowning context. Participants will explore the links between the rhythm in music and rhythm in comedy – using insights from each field to support developing in the other. Learn how to apply clowning skills in the context of another discipline, while staying true to the central requirements of both art forms.
Musical director: Shonagh Murray.
Clowning:Angela de Castro & Jack Stark, who will assist in staging a live performance of the clown choir in front of an audience.

This is a brilliant opportunity to add skills to your toolbox and perform in a professional environment with experienced directors, teachers and performers. Come along to find out why ‘I Like To Sing In The Bath’ is a sentence with special meaning for singers and clowns!
Jacksons Lane, London, UK
Mon 27th to Wed 29th April 2020 10 am to 4pm £150


DOUBLE BILL: The Gift and Virginia Davis’s Symposium

The Gift by Angela de Castro
Smart, proud and optimistic, Souza waits longingly, impatiently, eagerly, waiting… and waiting… For what seems an eternity he walks a tightrope between passion and despair. Will it end in laughter? Or tears?

The Gift is a show about love and loss, generosity and loneliness – a heart-warming tale in the great tradition of Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin in which music and silence merge as passion and imagination take over.

This show began as a 30-minute street show in 1990, premiered at the London International Mime Festival in 1991 and toured all over the UK. Reworked with new material almost 30 years on, this updated production is performed and directed by Angela de Castro and accompanied by the musical clown Rachel Ponsonby, with choreography by clown and commedia dell’arte expert Barry Grantham.

Virginia Davis’s Symposium by Zirk Theatre
Anthropolo-musicologist Virginia Davis will enlighten the audience about the science, the art, the power and the beauty of music. Miss Davis presents a variety of strange instruments, glass breaking opera and exotic fire, for a delirious symphonic experience.

After working with the likes of Cirque Plume and Circus Ronaldo, with this show Rachel Ponsonby has created her own musical clown universe.

Jacksons Lane, London, UK
Sat 2nd May, 7.30pm

The Road (The Why Not Clown Variety Show) 

Come on a journey to meet a range of artists who step out of their travels and invite you into their world for a brief moment, before they head back on The Road and move on to the unknown.

Expect snapshots of different worlds filled with belly laughs, heartfelt joy, pathos, simple comedy and absurdist humour all in one place.

The Road will showcase the Why Not alumni performing a mixture of disciplines all supported, informed or driven by the skill-sets of modern clowning. Despite their disparate backgrounds, everyone on this journey is united by a shared language of clown.

It’s an hour that celebrates differences while championing the common ground.

Jacksons Lane, London, UK

Fri 1st May, 7.30pm

The Road will be followed by after show celebrations, and all are welcome.

Attend our free talks about the social dimension of clowning and its future potential to continually evolve, develop and adapt to new challenges.
Tue 28th and Wed 29th April, 6pm – FREE

Below are details of our workshops. The dates of future workshops are yet to be announced. If you would like to know when the dates have been decided, please email

How To Be A Stupid (The Clown's Intelligence)

**Angela de Castro’s 10 day Clowning Workshop**

Future dates to be confirmed

*To request the application form, click here*
r email 

‘Clowning offers to the theatre practitioner an immense spectrum of new possibilities, a freedom that we can’t find in any other art form.’

Clowning is an art of courage and discipline; not a technique but a state that needs to be explored fully. This course offers 10 days of serious and enjoyable aimed at developing the clown’s intelligence, and the confidence to use and apply this unlimited power of imagination in any creative or performance context.

Come prepared for challenges and change. It is a rare opportunity to work with a theatre practitioner who for over 30 years has been seriously dedicated to research into, and use of, clowning, in all aspects of performance. This is a safe space to work, with expert guidance through de Castro’s methodology for each participant’s individual journey of development as a performer. It creates a supportive world in which participants can joyfully make mistakes – with a great deal of laughter and play along the way.

For clowns (beginners and experienced), actors, directors, dancers, writers and artists in any field – as well as all those interested in the development of creative intelligence.

 ‘De Castro’s gift is in bringing to the fore the sometimes very quiet voice at the centre of the artist’s being and expressing that. In an atmosphere as serious as it is playful, laughter and discipline lead to a connecting with inner truth and the principles at the heart of acting and of communicating with an audience. Experience the invigorating presence of an experienced performer who lives to share the joy and simplicity of the clown form and how it can so usefully relate to the art of acting.’


*To request the application form, click here*
 or email

How To Be Even More Of A Stupid (The Clown's Higher Intelligence)

**Advanced exercises for experienced clowns** Led by Angela de Castro 

Future dates to be confirmed


*To request the application form, click here*
 or email

By popular demand: Angela de Castro’s 5 day advanced clowning workshop! This workshop does what says on the tin!

The state of clown is like a muscle that needs to be exercised; the more practice and training a performer has, the stronger the results. Through the advanced exercises at this course, experienced clowns and actors who use clowning on their work, can stretch themselves to improve their ‘clown-fitness’ and make them better prepared to deal with even more challenging clown scenarios.

This unique workshop is specifically for experienced performers who take fun, play and stupidity very, very seriously. Attendees will be able to work alongside performers of the same level while exploring a range of advanced techniques and improvisation scenarios.

De Castro’s structured approach focuses specifically on the areas that are most challenging for the professional performer. By focusing on imagination, playfulness and the pleasure to be present, every section of the workshop has real practical lessons that can be applied to the clown’s existing performances and help structure the development of new ones. Filled with a mix of exercises, advanced techniques and improvisation scenarios, it’s an opportunity to train and play with performers of the same level.

It is a challenging, enjoyable and rewarding week of work for those who put their all into being seriously silly.

‘A teacher, a Master Clown, who is very delicate – who respects the performer in front of her and takes care to take you on the best path, so you do not expose yourself unnecessarily… A director who helps performers build and deliver their scenes with confidence.’ 


*To request the application form, click here*
 or email

Devising Material for Clowns: Imagination to Reality

*devising workshop for clowns and physical performers* Led by Stephen Sobal

Future dates to be confirmed 

*To request the application form, click here*
 or email

So, you’ve done some clowning!  You’ve learnt to play with an audience, stay optimistic and look for games…. but how do you make a show?

In this week long intensive workshop we will playfully explore the principles of devising with clown and comedy in a safe but challenging environment. Whether a solo show, double act or larger cast, this workshop will give any performer or director, the tools to make a very stupid piece of theatre.

Through exercises and games, theatre maker and director, Stephen Sobal, will reinforce the foundations of clowning whilst working with each participant to create something from nothing.

The best way to see if something works it to put it in front of an audience. Therefore the workshop will conclude with a sharing with an invited audience.

de Castro will be collaborating alongside Stephen Sobal in directing, editing and refining material for the end of week presentation.

*To request the application form, click here*
 or email

The Pleasure of Playing

**The State of Playfulness on the performer’s work**
Led by Angela de Castro
Future dates to be confirmed

*To request the application form, click here*
 or email

In the beginning there was Play
… and Play is everything!

Play is at the heart of clowning. For performers, actors and clowns it is important to keep the state of playfulness fresh and alive, to feed the soul and keep it light.

It is fundamental for clowns to exercise the mind, the body and the spirit. The spirit is often overtaken by the physical and intellectual demands of the job. Very often, it is the clown techniques that get the focus. However, what is a clown without a soul? Without a spirit?  How important it is not to forget that our souls need as much training and feeding as our bodies and minds?

Using simple games and light exercises, ‘The Pleasure of Playing’ will liberate the imagination and brings participants a new burst of energy, focus and awareness. Based on collective non-competitive games, this structured and surprisingly thought-provoking workshop became a must for clowns of all disciplines.

Book with The Beauty of Mistakes for £65 for both courses

*To request the application form, click here*
 or email

The Beauty of Mistakes

Led by Jack Stark
Future dates to be confirmed 

*To request the application form, click here*
 or email

How do you respond when something goes wrong? How do you deal with performing in environments you are uncomfortable in? How can you cope with unexpected situations that arise mid performance? How do you ensure you engage the crowd when you are “not feeling it today”?

This workshop will look at how can you turn a mistake or unplanned event into something magical for the audience. It covers a series of tried and tested clown exercises that have transferable skills for all performance disciplines, while tapping into your inner clown.

The concepts covered will assist those who often find themselves in challenging performance situations – as all artists do – and empower them to turn unexpected and unplanned events into beautiful pieces of entertainment.

Clowning is a powerful tool. With the clown’s mindset, you can approach situations that you may normally find uncomfortable with joy and enthusiasm. Students of clowning often find themselves saying “I had no idea I could that” and it is this phenomena that this workshop taps into.

It’s also going to be a lot of fun, and teaching through a series of games means you will leave with a collection of tools and exercises that you can practice on your own long after the workshop has finished.

Book with The Pleasure of Playing for £65 for both courses

*To request the application form, click here*
 or email

The Outside Eyes

Individual sessions in clown, clowning, performance craft, acting, presenting and mentoring consultancy.
Book a custom date to suit your needs. 

The Outside Eyes – The Performers’ Surgery brings professional support to the artists’ creative process.

Such a process can be quite lonely. How many times do we feel stuck and in need of an outside eye to have a look at our work? Or we simply need professional feedback on a new piece/concept to make sure we’re going in the right direction? For professional clowns, the challenge is even greater as it’s very hard to find someone who understands that universe well.

Whatever your speciality is, acting, physical theatre, devise work, writing, composer, directors, whether you have previous experience of clowning or not, The Outside Eyes, the Surgery can help you make work that is stronger and unique to you. Those interested in exploring advanced clowning techniques or concepts can do so under De Castro’s supervision, while those looking for a different take on their work will profit from de Castro’s over 40 years’ experience as a performer, actor, clown, director and mentor.

A de Castro has sharp eyes and can see through the material and or difficulty presented with clarity. Her approach is to focus on what the artist wants to say and suggest alternatives and sometimes solutions. Techniques mixed with playfulness, lightness and joy the state of clowning brings a fresh approach to ideas, acts and performances.

Artists can book between 2 to 4 hours’ sessions a day to show, discuss and/or just talk about their ideas. The Outside Eyes (The Surgery) can be 121 or in small groups and can be booked as a one-off session between 2 to 4hs or for a number of days.

‘I had a chance to participate in ’The Outside Eyes’ with De Castro this year, 2016. I spent with her really nice time. She helped me in the moment I really needed it as a clown and as an artist. De Castro showed me her method to find new characters, structure myself and helped me to „remember”. She shared with me also her knowledge about how to build up a show. Together we spent amazing time on deep, intensive and unforgettable conversations about world of clowning.’
Violeta Garcia (Spain, Germany) – clown, performer, devisor

For more information, please email