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Celebrate Your Ridiculousness!

It's time to risk being seen in all your glory! Come explore the world of play; live in the moment - and react in the moment; follow your impulses; think on the outside; connect with your audience; learn when to exit - always a good thing; improvise from your heart; play at the height of emotions - more, more, more; reveal your vulnerability; discover why something's funny - or not; take big risks; flaunt your faults; laugh in failures face; experience the power of the ensemble; create honest and engaging performances. Most of all, experience the freedom & joy that comes from embracing and celebrating your ridiculousness!

December 2nd-4th, 2019

10:30am - 3:30pm

When we think of our favorite comedy duos, they’re all made up of a Boss & his (her) ever devoted Idiot Sidekick:  George and Gracie, Lucy and Ricardo, Abbott and Costello, Laurel and Hardy, Martin and Lewis, The Smothers Brothers, French and Sanders, and so on…

In this class you’ll play both roles: The Boss who thinks she knows best, has extraordinary confidence, immense knowledge, gives constant orders, lives to delegate & loves to be worshiped. And the Idiot Sidekick, who aims to please, follows every impulse, worships his boss, is vulnerable, plays with innocence, is easily manipulated, easily distracted & takes everything at face value.

While you might find you have more fun in one role versus the other, ultimately you’ll discover that your personal clown embodies both roles, as within all of us is the leader & follower, the planner & the impulsive, the thinker & the idiot.  Come Make a Fool of Your Self – and Enjoy it!

Make ‘em Laugh: The Art of Creating an Act

Now that you’ve embraced your Clown, it’s time to create an act! In this class, you’ll be given direction and guidance to build a routine & have the opportunity to perform it in front of a live audience.  It’s time to sink or swim!

Mask: Neutral and Character, and Clown – Oh My!

Creativity, innovation, and the need for inspiration and personal growth apply to all of us. This workshop has been a catalyst for creative awakening for people in all walks of life & professions. In this 3 week intensive each student will identify their own creative process through the exploration of the neutral mask, character mask & finally the smallest mask, the clown nose. This class provides a unique opportunity for students to discover their personal clown, through mask.  In this class each student will:

  • Build three character masks using clay, paper mache & paint

  • Bring those masks to life through physical & vocal improvisation

  • Develop centering techniques through Neutral Mask

  • Develop the improvisational skills inherent in the character-driven, European style of clowning

  • Explore Color & the Elements as character sources

  • Explore makeup and costume as mask

  • This class will culminate in a public performance


Currently the clown coach for Cirque du Soleil's 7 resident shows in Las Vegas and Orlando, Shannan Calcutt is one of the world's leading instructors in clown, sparking creativity and devising material. She is sought-after as a collaborator, comedic director, writer and show creator. Her intimate approach allows artists to push the boundaries of what's acceptable and encourages them to work at their greatest potential. She has collaborated with artists in internationally acclaimed companies Circus Oz, Legs on the Wall, Circus Monoxide, Circus WOW, Crazy Horse Paris, Spiegelworld and Cirque du Soleil, to name a few.

Known for her keen sense of timing, razor sharp wit and extraordinary rapport with an audience, Shannan has played an eclectic range of venues worldwide. From the Sydney Opera House, to San Francisco's Bimbo's 365 Club, to Saskatoon's Wash 'n Slosh Pub. Her work has been profiled in art magazines American Theatre and Border Crossings and broadcast on CBC Radio and Canada's Bravo! Network. CBC declared her "a national treasure." For the past 12 years, Calcutt has called the stage of Zumanity by Cirque du Soleil home. She has performed for millions spectators and is the only female comedian to co-write and perform a solo act in Cirque du Soleil's 30 year history. Calcutt is also one of Zumanity's Comedic Directors, and in addition to designing 4 comic acts, she recently co-wrote the emcee script for the show.

"I have never had a teacher like Shannan before, and I am so thankful that her approach to life and clown has been introduced to me. She expected us all to bring our best, whatever that meant to each performer. It was the best example of kindness I have ever seen. No BS. No sugar coating. And yet the most safe and free rehearsal / workshop room I have ever been a part of."

Jenna-Lee Hyde - Actor

"I don't think that I have ever been pushed with such careful force into the roaring fire, only to discover that we have been given a protective barrier to the pain - Shannan is the push, the fire and the protection all at once and we become the immediate ensemble as a result, able to go where we could never go on our own."

Peter Balkwill - Artistic Director The Old Trout Puppet Workshop | Puppeteer | Actor

"Shannan is an amazing teacher who really drives her students. With sharp wit and whip in hand, Shannan cuts to the chase, empowering her pupils to discover honest performances and opportunities to respond to their audiences."

Edward Westerhuis - Filmmaker | Animator | Media Artist

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