Two rainbows marked the start of this unique collaboration between CWBSA, a handful of British clowns and some Lithuanian clown doctors. A good omen perhaps? Time will tell…
The idea for this collaboration originated on a snowy evening last December when Sam Holdsworth, a British artist and producer, and Vilte, a Lithuanian clown doctor, were lamenting about the lack of clown training in Lithuania. In the past years, Vilte and her wonderful team of clown doctors (see http://www.baltascena.lt/klounai-be-sienu/klounu-komanda) have received training and support from Clowns Without Borders in Germany and consequently have been volunteering as clown doctors in hospitals. However, they have no experience of creating and performing clown shows and are still searching for their identity in a country with no previous tradition of clown. After years of German and Soviet rule, the country itself is finding its identity. What is a “Lithuanian clown”? What is its role in society? What is a clown performance? And so this project was born.
I met Sam and the “British team” at the airport at the crack of dawn last Wednesday. Jools is an artist and clown from London and Lies is a clown doctor working in Scotland for Hearts and Minds (www.heartsminds.org.uk). I came on board at the last minute as a representative of Clowns Without Borders to mentor in the ethics and practices of a CWB mission. The reason being that, if all goes well, this may be the beginning of a UK chapter of Clowns Without Borders! Again, time will tell but it is an exciting prospect. So on many levels, this project is an exchange between British artists, Lithuanian clown doctors and myself, a CWB artist. Everyone has something to share, and everyone has something to learn.
The adventure began when we met the “Lithuanian team” in Vilnius and our little clown family grew to include Vilte, Juste, Kristina, Joana and Algirdas. We travelled to an art colony on the coast where we spent four playful days exploring the world of the clown in performance and in the role of clown doctor. Through different games, improvisation and clown exercises, we created material for a clown show that we will take to hospitals, refugee camps and Romani communities throughout the country over the next two weeks And this is where the work really begins!
Stay tuned for the next update from the field.