How to find a clown in Toronto
Looking for a clown for your Toronto event or party? A simple web search might not be the best way to go.
"A lot of clowns are self-taught, and hiring someone who's under-trained is not a good idea," said Helen Donnelly, a professional therapeutic, theatrical and circus clown. "It takes years to fine-tune your instruments so you're appropriate for your audience."
Donnelly has been a clown for over 20 years, and teaches workshops in Toronto. She said that the clowning community believes in the philosophy that everyone has a clown inside. "But just because you have taken a few workshops, it doesn't mean you're ready to unleash it to the world," said Donnelly.
So what steps should you take when hiring a clown?
Step 1: Pick what kind of clown you want
Certain clowns are trained for specific events. The community is widespread and includes areas like busking, corporate, circus, cabaret and hosting. Donnelly says that most get their start in theatrical clown training. "Then it's an ongoing process. A lot of people experiment in other areas, and I think that's important to keep you growing."
Step 2: Look for agencies
There are agencies that represent most types of clowns. If you're looking for a circus clown, you can check out places like Zero Gravity Circus or Circus Orange. There are also clown production teams. Donnelly belongs to Foo Productions, which can help coordinate an entire production from lighting to set design.
Step 3: Check Facebook
"Facebook is huge for the clowning community," said Donnelly. There are lots of pages for clowns who are working in the city. Some of them include the Toronto Clown Network and the group Toronto Clown.
Step 4: Investigate the artist
Once you've chosen a few clowns that you're interested in, Donnelly recommends doing some research. "Within the theatrical clown community there are really strong performers and newbies that don't know what they're doing," she said.
Once you're in touch with them, ask if they've received formal training. You can also touch base with other event planners that they may have worked with in the past.
"Word of mouth is huge," said Donnelly. "I would seek someone who i would trust in that world and make sure that i'm getting someone reliable. "
Do you have any Toronto clowns to recommend? Give them props in the comments below.