Hi, I'm Chris, and I'm a Clown Doctor. I'm passionate about the power of laughter. It really is the best medicine! I help transform environments and empower individuals and I love creating a world fuelled by the magical connections of the red nose with wonder, joy, beauty, laughter and playfulness.
What is a Clown Doctor?
The grandfathers of clown doctoring Michael Cristenden of Big Apple Circus New York and Patch Adams. I am honoured to have met them both. Michael was a circus clown who was asked to go into the hospital environment and hence the first clown doctor was born! Patch was a doctor who discovered the joy of putting on a red nose in the hospital. I was inspired by other programmes around the world: rire Medicine, France, Humour Foundation, Australia, Doctors of Joy, Brazil, Dream Doctors , Israel., Hearts and mind, Scotland and Tin Arts, Newcastle. Hence, I pioneered the Clown Doctor programme in East Anglia, for Suffolk Artlink's Clown Round eleven years ago.
My interest in circus skills started when I broke my leg playing basketball. I thought it would be great to learn how to juggle. The next step, quite literally, after the crutches, was to get a second-hand unicycle. I wanted to make the impossible possible!
Whilst studying Drama I became interested in Growtowski and physical theatre, which led me to attending a School for Fools Workshop. Soon after that, I joined a circus school! ( Fool Time, Bristol) Since 1986 I have worked in the community sharing circus skills, community arts and developing my own Clown which has evolved into a 'Clown with a Therapeutic Edge'. (healthcare clowning).
- Drama Workshops and Story Telling
I sometimes use masks in drama workshops as they are a great way to express with the whole body and non verbally. Forum theatre is about taking someone's own story and looking at it in a different way this can be revealing and liberating.
- Promote Health and Wellbeing.
As a Clown Doctor I recognise that sometimes fear, stress and anxiety can sometimes dissolve with sensitive engagement.and validation of feelings . Through the clown you can connect and build relationships very quickly. Over the years I have become passionate about the healing power of laughter.
Clown Doctor For the Young...
The best gift in the world is to hear the sound of laughter, particularly if a child has not smiled or laughed for ages!
In my bag I have a collection of paraphernalia from wind-up toys, hand massage equipment, a magical flower, a magnetic dancing ballerina and, of course, my collie puppet dog, Patch. I have bags of props for different eventualities covering all round people, from babies to teenagers. A shiny, scrunchy silver blanket or a singing bowl may console a distressed baby whilst a plate might be spun or a card chosen from a healing animal pack for a young person with low esteem.
I am often accompanied by faithfully puppets Debra and Zebra, Gogowrowth the dragon and Lela the Snail. Slapstick clowning can sometimes elicit a smile. A blast form my bubble trumpet can usually melt the most resistant patients. A bit of mischief making, a simple magic trick, a squeeze of the nose or juggling brussell sprouts are all the tools used to find a way in. To connect and be together in the moment. To trust the moment, the process and let the magic evolve.
.... and not so Young
One of my main aims is to improve the health and wellbeing of older people living with dementia in a medical setting.
Where I go
I love to visit young people in schools and can offer a variety of workshops. The medical benefits can be immense and working in schools can be a lot of fun. Please contact me to today!
Hospitals, especially a children's hospital, can be very traumatic and stressful. Sometimes a clown can help navigate through challenging emotions and invasive procedures, through distractions, acknowledging, accepting and concentrating on the individual. looking at the person not the condition, illness or injury. What ever you are going through a natural instinct to play and to be curious is still present, whatever your age.
In the hospital environment sometimes people might become confused or agitated. The calming influence of a happy omni drum is a great aid to relaxation. Clown doctors are here to help!
- Festivals, fetes and Fairs
I specialise in interactive workshops that lend themselves admirably to the informal atmosphere that can be found at festivals, fetes and fairs. It's a great way to meet families and share with everyone, not just the sick, the power of laughter. Clown doctors can teach new skills as well as promoting health and wellbeing.
- Corporate Events
My Clowning Credentials - (or why you should pick me!)
Clown Doctor Safety
There is nothing more important than safety. I want everyone to go home happy and safe. To this end I have
- DBS Certificate
- Full Public Liability Insurance
- Always carry a mop for bubble spillage in the hospital!
It's a giggle to think of qualifications for clowns but here are some of mine.
- BA (Hons) Drama, Youth and Community Work
- Circus Skills and Performing Arts with Fool Time
- Laughter Yoga Leader with United Mind
- Extensive safeguarding courses
- Reiki 1 and 2
- Metamorphic Technique
- Walking the Medicine Wheel - a years transformational journey
- Living Well / Dying Well foundation course
Huge Bags of Experience
I have been teaching circus skills in the community since 1986. More specifically I have experience as;
- Laughter Tutor for Coastal Leisure Learning
- End of Life Care with St Elizabeth's Hospice in Ipswich
- Red Ladder Theatre Training
- Playtrac Drama and Dance for adults with learning disabilities
- Shadow Theatre Masterclass with Fabrizio, Mime and Nola Rae
- Reminiscence Drama with Pam
- Mask Training with Ollie Crick and Bim Mason
- Clown Training with Franki Anderson, Hearts and Minds, Tin Arts and numerous other clowns.
- Story Telling Masterclass with the Human Givens College.
- From self harm to self belief with the Human Givens College
- Troubled and troublesome teenagers with the Human Givens College
- Building Resilience with Young Minds
and finally... my thanks
Sincere thanks to Hayley Field (Suffolk Artlink) and Jane Whiteside (JP Hospital) for believing in my vision and to all my teachers who have helped shape and evolve me. Special mention must also go to Dr Fillie Fidget (Wiggleologist) and Sidnee and Mason, the greatest teachers of all!
Interested - contact me today to find out more about booking you very own Clown Doctor
- I'd love to hear from you.