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The Why Not Institute is not recommending any particular book and this is not an exhaustive list. Please send us suggestions if you come across books that you think it should be add to the list.

  • Angels Can Fly, Alan Clay, Artmedia Plubishing
  • The Clown From Heart to Heart, Tom Kurstjens
  • The Moving Body,Jacques Lecoq
  • Le Gégèneur / The Tormentor, Philippe Gaulier, Editions Filmko 2007
  • Why is that so Funny, John Wright
  • Serious Clowning, Louise Peacock
  • Life in a Clown House, Julie Goel, Maine Authors Publishing
  • Clownsland,  Judith Lannagham
  • The Art Of Clowning: More Paths for Your Inner Clown, Eli Simon
  • Art Of Clowning, Eli Simon
  • Clowns: In Conversation with Modern Masters, Ezra LeBank and David Bridel
  • The Clown In You, Caroline Dream
  • The Semiotics of Clowns and Clowning, Paul Bouissac, Bloomsbury  2015
  • Clown, Readings in Theatre Practice 2013, Jon Davison
  • The Physical Comedy, David Rider Robinson, Handbook Paperback  1999
  • The Tricks of the Trade, Dario Fo
  • Clown Scenes, Tristan Remy, Ivan R Dee 1962
  • The Center Ring, Pat Barner and Judy Vermillion, Witt Hampton Roads 1992
  • A Thousand Clowns, Herb Gardner, Random House Plays 1962
  • Clowning, Bruce Fife and others, Piccadilly Books 1988
  • Clown Painting, Diane Keaton, Powerhouse Books 2002
  • Clowns & Tricksters, Kimberly A Christen, ABC-CLIO 1998
  • Clowns of the 20th Century: photographs of 100 years of circus clowns Circus Friends Association, Aardvark 2000
  • Fools Are Everywhere: the jester around the world, Beatrice K Otto, University of Chicago Press 2001
  • The History of Clowns for Beginners, Joe Lee, Writers and Readers 1995
  • The Silent Clowns, Water Kerr, Da Capo 1975
  • The Silent Comedians, Richard Dyer MacCann, Scarecrow Press 1993
  • The Story of English Clowning: an exhibition at Nottingham Castle 1977 Arnold Rattenbury, Nottingham Castle Museum 1977
  • Clown for Circus and Stage, Mark Stolzenberg, Sterling Pub Co 1993
  • Clown Hits and Skits, Richard Strelak and Marty Sherman, Contemporary Drama Service 1981
  • A Seat at the Circus, Antony Hippisley Coxe, Evans Brothers 1951
  • Bread & Circuses: a study of federal theatre, Willson Whitman, Oxford University Press 1937
  • Les Fratelline, Michel Serrault and Pieere Robert Levy, Actes Sud 1997
  • Buster Keaton  – Cut to the Chase, Marion Meade, Bloomsbury 1995
  • Buster Keaton – My Wonderful World of Slapstick, Buster Keaton and Charles Samuel, Da Cappo 1982
  • Buster Keaton Remembered, Eleanor Keaton & Jeffrey Vance, Abrams Books 2001
  • Keaton – The Man Who Wouldn’t Lie Down, Tom Dardis, Virgin Books 1989
  • Remembering Charlie, Jerry Epstein, Bloomsbury 1988
  • I couldn’t Smoke The Grass On My Fathers Lawn, Michael Chaplin, Leslie Frewin 1966
  • Charles Chaplin – My Autobiography, Charles Chaplin, Penguin 1966
  • Charles Chaplin The Great God Pan, Robert Payne, Hermitage House 1952
  • Behind My Grease Paint , Coco the clown, Hutchinson & Co  1950
  • Clowns, John H Towson, Hawthorn Books 1976
  • Grimaldi – King of Clowns, Richard Findlater, MacGibbson and Kee 1955
  • Grock – King of Clowns, Grock, Nethuen and Co 1957
  • Grock – Life’s a Lark, Grock, Benjamim Blom 1931
  • The Age & Stage of George L Fox, Laurence Senelick, University Press of New England 1988
  • The Big Treasure Book of Clowns, Felix Sutton, Grosset & Dunlop 1953
  • Commedia dell’Arte: an actor’s handbook, John Rundlin, Routledge 1994
  • Playing Commedia, Barry Grantham, Nick Hern Books 2000
  • Eric Morecombe: life’s not Hollywood, it’s Cricklewood, Gary Morecombe, BC Books 2003
  • Fellini, A Life, Hollis Alpert, Paragon House 1988
  • I, Fellini, Charlotte Chandler, Bloomsbury 1997
  • Foolish Wisdom – Stories and Reflections from Ken Felt, Joseph F. Martin, Resource Publications 1990
  • Raised Eyebrows – My Years Inside Groucho’s House, Steve Stoliar, General Publishing Group 1996
  • Groucho – The Life and Times of Julius Henry Marx, Stefan Kaufer, Alfred A. Kcoff 2000
  • Harlequin Phoenix, Thelma Niklaus, Bodley Head 1956
  • King of Comedy: the life and art of Jerry Lewis, Shawn Levy, St Martins Griffin 1997
  • Laurel and Hardy, John McCabe, Barnes & Noble 1996
  • Laurel Before Hardy, Jenny Owen, Dawson & Bill Monland
  • Stan – The Life of Stan Laurel, Fred Lawrence Guiles, Scarborough House 1991
  • Babe – The Life Of Oliver Hardy, John Mc Cabe, Robson Books 1989
  • The Dark Side of a Genius – The Life of Alfred Hitchcock, Donald Spoto, Plexus 1994
  • Arte del Clown, Jacques Fabbri & Andre Sallee, Gremese Editore 1984
  • The Wonder Book of Clowns, Oscar Weigle, Wonder Books 1955
  • The World Of Clowns, George Bishop, Brooke House 1976
  • The World of Samuel Beckett, Lois Gordon, Yale University Press 1996
  • Woven Gods: female clowns and power in rotuma, Vilsoni Hereniko, University of Hawaii Press 1995


Clowns Without Borders (UK)
Clown Doctors UK.

The Why Not Institute – Coronavirus Update

The pandemic was a difficult time for everyone, including those in the performing arts. At The Why Not Institute, we came together as a community and found resilience, resourcefulness, and new ways to support each other. HUGS is a good example of what we achieved...
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The Why Not Institute Presents: HUGS! The Why Not Institute presents: Hugs Understanding the strength, the importance and the need for a hug, receive ours. Representing all the Why Notters, 21 clowns from UK. USA, Finland, Brazil, Norway and Hong Kong, are sending HUGS to the...
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By Suzie Ferguson To be a Clown Doctor takes a special kind of clown artist. It requires not only a high level of skill and clown experience but the maturity to commit yourself to being ‘in service’. There are no stage lights to focus attention or paying audience to...
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Clowns and Gender

by Miranda Porter Gender is, “a system of classification rooted in social ideas about masculinity and femininity.” (Mardell, 2016). Gender is considered, by some, a binary concept. A binary has only two states with no existing spectrum between. Therefore, gender as a...
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Imagination and the Clowns

By A de Castro with extracts from the book ‘Angel Journey’ by Terry Lynn Taylor and Mary Beth Crain The Clowns are like Angels. The consciousness is both human and divine, physical and metaphysical. Being divine messengers, the clowns and the angels move easily and...
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