CCP’s training opportunities come from Angela de Castro’s desire to learn more about the tremendous effect of the state of clowning on her work as a performer and a desire to share that learning with others. CCP offers a range of training, directing and coaching, and often works in partnership with theatre companies, individual performers, academic organisations and others, using collaborations to develop shared learning.

‘Joy doesn’t come to us only when we find what we are looking for, but it is part of the search process. To teach and to learn can’t be done outside this process, the process of search, beauty and joy.’
Paulo Freire, educator and philosopher

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The Why Not Institute

Founded and directed by Angela de Castro, The Why Not Institute is the UK’s only centre totally dedicated to performance, teaching, professional development, resources and events connected to contemporary clowning, especially that within theatre traditions.

The Institute runs workshops, develops performances and builds support networks for clowns and those interested in our approach. The Institute creates a space for people to try out clowning and for clowns to be recognised and validated. It also runs our unique space called ‘The Land of the Why Not’, a ‘clown’s playground’, a space for artists to experiment or simply exist with their clown personas outside of rehearsal or performance

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How to be A Stupid

‘How To Be A Stupid ‘or ‘The Clown’s Intelligence’ or ‘The State of Clown’ is a full-time full-on course into the state of clowning – intense and challenging but profoundly transformatory as well. For beginners and those more experienced who need refreshing, refocusing or a burst of energy, this course takes participants on a profoundly challenging journey, with laughs and play along the way.

For Angela de Castro, clowning is not a technique but a state, a state of imagination. ‘How To Be A Stupid ‘ or ‘The Clown’s Intelligence’ takes participants on a journey to find and maintain that state. Through exercises and games, this practical course takes participants through a process that helps them find their clown persona and experience this persona in the state of clowning.

For those already clowns, this process helps them find truthfulness and depth in their clowning, encompassing the tragic as much as the comic. For actors and other performers, this process helps make performing more real, more individual, more joyful. For beginners and those who just want an experience of personal development, the course is a transformatory journey of discovery.

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How To Be Even More Of A Stupid

Advanced exercises for experienced clowns
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.

My clown journey started at The Why Not with Angela de Castro and all the other guest teachers. It’s been a blast ever since.
I have been to a lot of The Why Not workshops, and I’ve never been disappointed. The workshops always give me inspiration, joy, play and they always challenge me to grow in my artistic work as a clown and performer.

– Anne-Marthe Lund Engnes – Actress, Clown, Producer, Teacher at Freelance Skuespiller, works for Sykehusklovn at Sykehusklovnene and Assist. Professor at Kristiania. Norway

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The Clown’s Intelligence: The Inner Monologue

When we allow the clown to think, it is amazing what they come up with! Audiences love to follow clowns’ thoughts; to see clowns thinking and finding amazing solutions and answers to everyday life. But how often do our own thoughts come faster than the clown’s? Our thoughts intrude and interrupt the clown’s voice.

For silent and speaking clowns looking to develop their practise, this workshop focuses on maintaining the state of clown by training the mechanism of the clown’s thoughts. Through games and exercises, this workshop gives you techniques to maintain the clown’s inner monologue, giving the clown space to think. Often harder than anticipated, maintaining the clown’s inner monologue allows us to develop a true clown’s intelligence!

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Clown in Tragedy and Serious Theatre

These two weeks addresses different things: the use of the state of clowning in tragic and serious theatre, maintaining the state of clowning for longer periods of time and several physical theatre techniques and exercises.

The opportunity to experiment with the state of clowning in tragic and or mainstream theatre, offering different angles for the performers to explore.

The exercises explore themes like: death, betrayal, jealousy, abandonment, rape, violence, murder and many other serious subjects.

The use of the state of clowning in such themes brings a completely other dynamic to the approach in the way that certain scenes and /or characters are conceived and played. It also offers theatre practitioners many other tools and choices to enhance their performance and the way they think about their work. It gives them courage to pursue emotions and situations that are not comfortable, but nevertheless mirrors life as it is. Again, we are looking for ways to make the practitioner’s work more truthful and to reveal the most sincere elements of the human nature.

This workshop has an emphasis on exploring how clown training can prepare actors for performing plays which are not generally regarded as comic. When viewing a serious drama the audience is often encouraged to engage with the characters on stage, following their experiences and, perhaps, experiencing some form of catharsis.

What this workshop offers is to establish how that emotional engagement can be heightened by incorporating clowning techniques in training, rehearsal and performance. Central to the work is to incorporate the clown’s inherent naivety, bafflement and optimism to intensify the emotions felt by the audience. When we watch a hero or heroine moving inexorably towards some catastrophe, how much worse might it be if throughout, the performer can convince us of the character’s optimism and belief that the catastrophe can be avoided. The impact of this will be greater on the audience when they, from their vantage point, can see that the character is irretrievably doomed.

Earlier examples of fooling can be found in Shakespeare (for example the Fool in Lear). This demonstrates a writer’s awareness of the possibilities of juxtaposing an alternative vision of the world with the tragic disintegration of the protagonist. What modern clown techniques can offer is a whole new way of communicating that vision to the audience.

The contribution that clowning can make in training non-comic actors has long been underestimated and this workshop brings a model of integrating actor’s training, drawing on clowning to provide responsive and, potentially, playful actors who are able to perform a broad range of dramatic texts successfully. As is evident from the already existing use of clown training in both therapy and corporate settings there will also be a personal impact on actors trained in this way.

Taken together, the professional and personal development which clown-based training offers to actors can contribute more broadly to them and, therefore, their audience’s human and social understanding.

The potential for cultural impact is therefore significant. If we change the way we train actors; we change the way they perform and if we change the way our actors perform then we can change theatre.

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The Pleasure of Playing – Play Sessions

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

Play is at the heart of clowning, so whether you are a clown or not it is an excellent way to exercise the mind, the body, the spirit and your jaw muscles. Using games and simple exercises, this workshop will liberate the imagination and brings participants a new burst of energy, focus and awareness.

‘The Pleasure of Playing’ are invigorating, inspiring, encouraging and friendly, a must for anyone who wants to reconnect with their creative inner self, the gullible self that is not allowed to appear in our day to day lives.

To keep the creative spirit of play alive, a structured play session will invigorate, inspire and focus everyone, in all workplaces, and performance and community contexts.

‘The Pleasure of Playing’ are not specifically clown workshops and so are welcoming for everyone who wants to release the joy of play within, to reconnect with their creative inner self, their physical energy and simple fun!

For those wanting to explore clowning or their performance techniques ‘The Pleasure of Playing’ are a wonderful compliment to the challenging search for deeper clowning.

Based on collective non-competitive games, these structured and surprisingly thought-provoking sessions exercise body, soul and intellect.

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Laughing Matters

‘He, who laughs… lasts…’
Who said this, again?

Laughter is essential in life.

Laughter is an essential tool in building confidence, removing cynicism, increasing enthusiasm and motivation. Not only that, it’s also very good for your health and dramatically reduces stress by naturally releasing endorphins.

Choosing to laugh for no reason brings us out of our comfort zone, into the unknown. It helps us reveal our own personalities and creates a strong emotional bond between participants. Laughter develops trust and activates the creative side of our brains.

Inspired by breathing techniques, developed in Yoga to assist in relaxation, the mental and physical benefits of laughter are immediate and easy to achieve, regardless of age, fitness levels or ability.

Happiness should not be put off. It’s not like we can say ‘I’ll be happy tomorrow at 2:31’. Laughing Matters focuses on being in the now and not putting our feelings off until tomorrow.

Generate a happy culture in your work environment. A happy and healthy work place, is a productive one – you already know that – but how do you achieve this cost effectively?

One scientifically proven way, is to have a laugh.

Angela de Castro is a trained teacher in Laughter Yoga and runs sessions for many groups of people.

Laughter Yoga is a new concept that was started in India in 1995 by a family doctor called Dr.MadanKataria. Dr.Kataria developed a technique that combines laughter exercises and gentle breathing to enhance health, happiness and healing. Everyone can laugh, without jokes or humour, or needing to have a reason. The body produces endorphins as a result of the laughter exercises and people feel better from the experience.

A laughter yoga session has been proven to give participants:

  • freedom from stress
  • reductions in anxiety and depression
  • relief from pain
  • stronger Immune system, circulatory system and lymphatic system
  • more self-confidence, creativity, compassion and serenity
  • better communication skills
  • a positive attitude

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Outside Eyes

Individual surgery in clown, performance craft and mentoring consultancy.

The concept of Outside Eyes is to bring professional support to the artists’ creative process. Such a process can be quite lonely. How many times we need an outside eye to have a look in our work? Someone who is not the director of the piece. Or we want an opinion on the text or act we are creating, or on the concept of a show that we are directing. Sometimes is very hard for clowns to find someone that understand the universe that the state of clown is. Sometimes we want a different approach on our ideas.

So, that is the concept of the Outside Eyes.

Artists can book a session to show, discuss and/or just talk about their ideas.

To find out more about course dates, register your interest and join the mailing list, please visit