Announcement: Toronto Festival of Clowns

From Press Release

Canada’s Most Red-Nosed Theatre Festival

Toronto, ON (March 07, 2012) – The freaks are back to take over Toronto and this time it’s an international invasion. For four days only, some of the world’s top clowns, bouffons and physical theatre performers will be unleashed in Toronto for the seventh annual Toronto Festival of Clowns.

The festival, running from May 31 to June 3rd, 2012 is filled with imaginative, outlandish, peculiar and hilarious shows.  All performances will take place in Toronto’s Pia Bouman Studio Theatre in the heart of Queen West’s Arts District.

This year, the Toronto Festival of Clowns goes international, with the premiere of a bouffon play by Master Clown Teacher Philippe Gaulier, directed by his son Balthazar.

Over 100 performers will shock and delight audiences in both full length productions and cabaret performances, including:

Saucisse: A Foo Musical – Toronto
Foo, one of Toronto’s most beloved clowns, returns to this year’s festival in her own full-length show. Foo, a skeptical, nomadic peddler strikes an unlikely friendship with Saucisse, a new-age vegetarian pig. Directed by Susanna Hamnett and starring Helen Donnelly. 

La Gnole de Tante Christine est Imbuvable (Aunt Aggie’s Gut Rot is Undrinkable) – Paris
Jayne Walling
and Julie Maingonnat star in the modern bouffon play by world-renowned artist, Philippe Gaulier. This is the story of two women trying to have a baby, despite one being infertile and the other a virgin. Directed by Balthazar Gaulier, this work is performed in French with English surtitles. 

Fools For Love – Edmonton
A romantic comedy in red-nose starring Edmonton-based performers Christine Lesiak and Adam Keefe, directed by Jan Henderson. Rocket and Sheshells are best friends on a hilarious roller-coaster ride that will plummet straight into your heart.

Death and Other Discomforts (A Triple Bill) – Toronto 

1) Preacher Man – Minnesota
Performed and created by National Theatre School of Canada student, Jesse LaVercombe, Preacher Man asks What happens after we die? Preacher Man knows, and has been looking forward to his date with the electric chair for twenty years. He spends his last words on a sermon about his upbringing in rural Virginia, the importance of proper manners, lawn mower mechanics, forgiveness, and justice.  Directed by Adam Lazarus and Jodi Essery.

2) Baby – Toronto
Baby just wants what every kid wants: a nice family, a nice neighbourhood and an all around nice life, and he’ll do anything to get it. Anything. Baby is ready to start again. No holes barred. Stephen Jackman-Torkoff first created and performed Baby this past year at the National Theatre School of Canada, where he is a student of the acting program.  Directed by Adam Lazarus and Jodi Essery.

3) Bleed – Toronto
Today, something about Norman is off. Today, he didn’t go to work. Today, he stayed home. Now he is beginning to bleed. A hit at this year’s Rhubarb Festival and starring Phil LuziBleed is directed by the festival’s Artistic Director Adam Lazarus.

Each night of the festival features a hugely popular cabaret that brings together some of the most exciting performers in the clowning world. In true festival tradition, the Red Nose District will kick off the weekend with the beloved clown duo Morro and Jasp. Friday night, the freaks and outcasts take the stage for a satirical Night of Bouffon, hosted by Lindy Zucker and Saturday night features the only west end performance of the exceptionally popular, one-of-a-kind Lunacy Cabaret, hosted by Melissa D’Agostino and Adam Lazarus – where anything and everything can and does happen.

The Festival closes with a Student Soiree that will feature the best work to come out of recent physical theatre workshops across the country and the presentation of the third annual Mark Purvis Bursary that funds a student’s future study in physical performance.

Founded in 2006, the Toronto Festival of Clowns provides new and established clowns and physical performers the opportunity to create and showcase their work. Producers Adam Lazarus and Dave McKay aim to create awareness of the various forms of physical theatre under the umbrella of “clown”, such as red-nose, mime, bouffon, busking, movement, slapstick, commedia del arte, vaudeville, mask and character work.

Past participants of this powerhouse festival of physical theatre include John Turner of Mump and Smoot, David S. Craig, Christel Bartelse, Rachelle Elie, Leah Cherniak, Rick Roberts, The Red Bastard, Fiona Griffiths, Michelle Smith and Dean Gilmour, Ginette Mohr, Anand Rajaram, Edwige Jean-Pierre, Keystone Theatre, Ravi Jain, Adam Paolozza, Sue Morrison and Melissa D’Agostino.


Toronto Festival of Clowns
Scotiabank Studio Theatre at Pia Bouman School
6 Noble Street

May 31st – June 3rd, 2012
Tickets: All full-length shows and cabarets are $10 each

Tickets are available at the door

For more information please visit