Who we are
Contemporary Clowning Projects (CCP) is Angela de Castro's production company, promoting performance, production and projects by de Castro and other artists, focusing on theatre clowning and theatre traditions. CCP is dedicated to an exploration of the process and effect of the state of clowning on creativity and effectiveness for actors and theatre practitioners, as well as people in business, education and many other walks of life.
Contemporary Clowning Projects is an organisation with a passion for the art form of clowning and its use for people in all sorts of professions.We believe in the vital role of clowns as entertainers and as artists. We believe that, throughout history and still today, clowns have an essential role to play in societies and the world. Clowns are tellers of truth, subversives in society.
Despite a long and honourable tradition of clowning in this country, it is still a misunderstood and undervalued art form. The art of clowning is one of the greatest and most difficult of them all. Clowning is about communicating truth in its purest, rawest form. It demands great courage and discipline from the performer, yet reaches out with simplicity to engage the audience.
Contemporary Clowning Projects seeks to validate, celebrate, investigate, develop and reclaim recognition for Clowning. We aim to:
- provide wider opportunities for people to access and enjoy the work of a wider range of clowns and clowning
- change public and 'arts industry' perceptions aboutclowning and to promote the status of clowns within the industry
- promote high standards of challenging and innovative clowning in the UK
- undertake serious, in-depth research into the use of the state of clowning in theatre, business, education and many other walks of life
- develop a network of peers for clowns, for mutual support, research, training and personal development
- support the development of Angela de Castro's projects and research
- make links between audiences and professionals in the UK and internationally and act as a networking point for clowns across the world.
Lead by Angela de Castro as Artistic Director, Contemporary Clowning Projects runs a wide range of theatre productions, collaborations, research and innovative developments linking clowning with the worlds of acting, performance, education and business.
Over the years, the work of Angela de Castro has grown into an in-depth, serious investigation into the 'state of clowning', which we call 'the clown's intelligence'. Angela de Castro's work as a thinker and researcher into the state of clowning has led to profoundly transformative work within theatre, business and education.
This work has been commissioned, developed in collaboration with and supported by:
- Nesta (the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts,England
- the Arts Foundation, England
- the Arts Council England
- Battersea Arts Centre, England
- ArtsEd - Arts Educational School, England
- Ernst Busch Drama School, Berlin, Germany
- the College for Actors in Bochum, Germany
- the Folkwang University in Essen, Germany
- the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Glasgow, Scotland
- Professor Louise Peacock at Hull University, England
Due South Magazine
Angela de Castro has been performing since she was 17 years old, beginning in her native Brazil where she was a well known actress in theatre, film and television and director of her own theatre company. She was a member of the original cast of the ground breaking show
'Macunaima' (1977-1980), which changed the face of Brazilian theatre and played to an audience of over half a million people in Brazil alone, as well as touring internationally for over two years.
In 1986 de Castro moved to London to pursue her dream to study, perform and reclaim theatre clowning as a modern art form. She has toured the UK and internationally with the major contemporary theatre and circus companies and is well known as a teacher of her master class 'How To Be A Stupid' or 'The Art of Creative Intelligence'.
Angela de Castro recent performing work could be seen in 'Treasure Island' by Robert Louis Stevenson adapted by:Bryony Lavery directed by: Polly Findley,(National Theatre, Olivier Theatre, London, England) 'The Gift' (Belgium, Finland, Sweden, Germany and Brazil), 'Under Glass', by the Clod Ensemble (London), 'Laughing Matters', work in progress, Battersea Arts Centre London, Bristol Old Vic and Jyvaskyla Festival Finland, 'Luz Nas Trevas' feature length film (Brazil), 'Futurology' a National Theatre Scotland, Suspect Culture Theatre Co and Brighton Festival (UK), Ionesco's 'The New Tenant' for the Young Vic Theatre and is well known for her clown Rough, the green clown, in the award winning Slava's 'Snowshow'. She creates and tours her own shows under her own company Contemporary Clowning Projects. Her shows include 'The Gift', 'My Life Is Like A Yo Yo', 'only fools (no horses)' a show about the Shakespearean Fools, 'Laughing Matters', 'Foreigners' and 'Alone: All+ One', are projects in development.
Angela de Castro is one of the most loved women clowns. She is a leading theatre practitioner, actor, teacher, director and speaker. Her performances and methodology have been well recognised in the UK and abroad, awarding her, among a few, a Lawrence Olivier Award (UK) ,the Golden Nose Award (Spain), the Nesta Dreamtime Fellowship, an Arts Foundation Fellowship and an International Fellowship by Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama for her contribution on the art of clowning.
Theatre clowning is a life's passion and way of life for de Castro. She doesn't stop working. She is completely dedicated and committed to her work. She is always working on shows, directing and mentoring other companies, developing her own clowns' personas and learning how to play the ukulele. When she has some free time, she can be seen browsing around street markets, riding her beloved motorbike and feeding the ducks in the park near her house.
For further information, click here to download Angela de Castro's CV.
- Joseph Seelig and Helen Lannagham - directors of Lodon International Mime Festival, England
- Ali Williams, Artistic Director of No Fit State Circus, Wales
- Orit Azaz, independent creative director and facilitator, England
- Alex Murdoch, theatre director and co diretor of Cartoon de Salvo, England
- Karen Fisher, theatre producer, England
- Louise Peacock, Senior Lecturer at Hull University, England
- Academy of Dramatic Arts Ernst Busch, Germany
- Stratford Circus Arts Centre, London, England, UK
- Suzie Ferguson - artistic director of 'Hearts & Minds'. Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Contemporary Clowning Projects began in 2000 with the aim of promoting Angela de Castro's work and encouraging a wider investigation into the state of clowning.
One of CCP's core projects is The Why Not Institute, a resource in which performers and others can learn and train. The Institute creates a space for people to try out clowning and for clowns to be recognised and validated. The idea came from students attending de Castro's clown training course 'How To Be A Stupid', who asked 'what next?' Students and professionals find themselves jumping from class to class, teacher to teacher, until they are left by themselves, out on a limb. de Castro had a dream to create a space for clowns, theatre practitioners, and others, to investigate, research, try out, develop and progress in this art form. This is The Why Not Institute.
Originally an award-winning actor in her native Brazil, Angela de Castro had already been working as a clown for 10 years when she met Slava Polunin in 1995 and began a collaboration that created the Green Clown in 'Slava's Snowshow'. This show brought clowning to a wide audience: clowning as much about tragedy and metaphysics as gags and slapstick. Wordless, often still, with a highly creative visionary use of the proscenium arch space, yet also funny and accessible, this show amazed, inspired and transformed audiences. de Castro's role as the creator of Rough, the Green Clown, was applauded around the world.
Following the establishment of CCP and The Why Not Institute, in 2002 CCP developed and toured 'My Life Is Like A YoYo', a show based on de Castro's life. Working with Brazilian designer Roberto Manieri, this continued CCP's interest in strongly visual and sometimes darkly powerful clown work. The show was supported by Battersea Arts Centre, the Arts Council England and the Brazilian Consulate in London.
The following years saw many long-standing directing and teaching collaborations, for example as co-director and consultant with Giffords Circus; with clown festivals Anjos do Picadeiro in Brazil and the Women's Clown Festival in Andorra; with the London International Mime Festival; and long-standing training collaborations with the Ernst Busch and Folkwang drama schools in Berlin and Essen.
The next large production project - 'only fools, no horses' - also received Arts Council funding. This middle scale show took three Shakespearean fools and put them in their reality, out of the plays, often in mid-air with rigging and the assistance of trapeze and choreography experts. Developed at the Riverside Studios in 2003, directed by John Wright and written by Sarah Woods, the show toured the UK in spring 2006.
In 2012' The Gift', de Castro's seminal show, was re-designed and re-produced, touring in Finland, Sweden, Belgium, Germany and Brazil. 'The Gift' is a heart-warming tale in the great tradition of Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin giving a universal message of love, hope and truth.
In more recent years, CCP has produced de Castro's work in progress show 'Laughing Matters' and courses in Laughter Yoga.
Also in 2012, CCP worked in partnership with No Fit State Circus, the National Circus of Wales. Cabaret Collective was a development support process for emerging talent, which show-cased the work of over 15 artists.
Angela de Castro has been a performer all her life. An award-winning performer, director and producer in her native Brazil, in 1985 de Castro moved to England to pursue her dream of clowning. She is a Nesta Dream Time Fellow; an Arts Foundation Fellow; an International Fellow of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama; a recipient of many Arts Council grants; and has been a member of the Arts Council England Circus Advisory Committee and a juror for the Jerwood Awards for Circus. She toured with ground-breaking modern circus and theatre companies such as Mummerandada, Ra Ra Zoo, and The Right Size, and is well known for her clown Rough, the Green Clown, in the award winning Slava'sSnowshow. She has extensively toured her own shows, and is founder and director of The Why Not Institute. Clowning is a life's passion and way of life for de Castro.
Prof. Maggie Kinloch FHEA FRSA, Vice Principal, Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Glasgow, Scotland
Everywoman June 1996
Due South Magazine July/August 1989
Time Out February 1996
The Scotsman August 1996
The Voice on 'The Gift' November 1994
Festival Times review of 'The Gift' 1991
Newbury Weekly News May 1992
Spare Rib Magazine 1992
City Limits September 1993
Evening News , 'Futurology' 2007
The Scotsman - 'Futurology', 2007
Newbury News - 'only fools (no horses)', 2006
Reviews Gate - www.reviewsgate.com, 'My Life Is Like A Yoyo', 2002
O Estado de Sao Paulo, May, 1997
The Scotman, about Angela de Castro in 'Snowshow' 1998
Jackie Clune, lecture of the Royal Holloway New College, University of London, 1995
Clare Muldoon, Artistic Director of the Hackney Empire Theatre, London, 1997
Sue East, Head Mistress of St. Julian's Primary School, Wellow, England, 2006
Prof. Viola Schmidt, Head of Voice and Speech, Academy of Dramatic Arts Ernst Busch, Berlin, Germany, 2012
Prof. Marina Busse, Folkwang University, Essen, Germany