Interview: Robyn Hambrook on Clowning and Activism

The Bristol Activist

When you hear the word “clown”, the first thing to come to mind is maybe a circus, or a children’s birthday party, or perhaps even a villain in a horror film.

But, as Robyn Hambrook, a performer, director and clown, explains, there’s more to clowning than unicycles and balloon animals, with clowns historically playing an important social, political, and cultural role by speaking truth to power.

Robyn, who completed a masters degree on the subject, argues that the clown still holds relevance, and that the tools and techniques of clowning contain valuable lessons for activists today.

So what really is clowning and what can it teach us about activism? TBA’s James Ward spoke with Robyn from her home in Easton to talk about truth-telling, play, and rebel clown armies.

Robyn’s responses have been edited for clarity and conciseness. 

JW: The popular image of the clown is probably different to your…

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