presenters

Since our inception in 1998, Spymonkey have created some of the most outstandingly original theatre in Britain, drawing on the disciplines of clown, physical theatre and devised theatre.

 

Widely acknowledged as world leaders in the field of clown and physical comedy, its members are keenly sought as teachers, consultants and directors for their insight and experience in creating brilliant, original and singular work.

 

Using the techniques developed through creating Spymonkey shows, they explore how these methods can be used by participants to discover their own unique style of work, through a range of workshop and bespoke activities.

 

Spymonkey are company-in-residence at Central St Martins, University of the Arts London. Their work has been the subject of numerous PhD and undergraduate theses, and are studied in schools and colleges around the world.

 

To keep updated on our educational and training activities subscribe to our mailing list.

 

All upcoming workshops are listed on our here.

 

 

New York clown masterclass 2013

We offer:

London devising for clown workhsop 2013

Specialist Workshops

 

We have designed workshops around the requirements of a number of specialist groups including performers with learning disabilities, people recovering from addiction, partially sighted/blind and deaf participants.

Unity Festival THE CLOSING, residency with Hijinx Theatre Company, Wales Millenium Centre 2012

Teaching Resources

We have a range of teaching resources available. These include:

  • full show DVDs of OEDIPUSSY, MOBY DICK and COOPED (for sale in our online Shop)
  • double DVD about our devising process on OEDIPUSSY, specifically created for teachers and students, with teachers’ notes and study guide (details here)
  • in development: a book about Spymonkey comedy devising for Routledge Academic Press.

Academic Study

As a leading practitioner of contemporary clown, devised, physical comedy and physical theatre, Spymonkey's work is studied on GCSE and A-level Drama and Performing Arts syllabuses. They are an associate company of National Independent Schools Drama Association (NISDA).

 

The company’s work has been the subject of a number of theses and dissertations at bachelor, postgraduate and doctorate level.

 

More details and updates on our Academic page.

Testimonials & Resources

Jane Nichols / professor, Yale School of Drama

“Aitor has boundless energy. He loves what he teaches and he loves to teach. Aitor’s easy, even temperament is as genuine and reassuring as it is compelling and empowering. His enthusiasm for what he does is evident and contagious. He approaches his students as he approaches the material … with humor, with clarity and authority, with knowledge, and with profound respect. Just as he and the other members of the remarkable Spymonkey approach weighty, sometimes perverse or tragic material with humor and a touch of grace, so to, as Aitor approaches a student’s despair or resistance or personal tragedy he applies the same humor and grace. That his professional work aligns dignity with absurdity is testimony to his genius as an artist. That he, as an artist, is dedicated to eliciting that same sensibility from his students is testimony to his depth as a humanist, - and to his commitment to education.”

 

 

Video / Storm Workshop at the Lyric Hammersmith

Workshop symposium for performers of mixed abilities, with Push, Graeae, Frantic Assembly. Video produced by Deafeatures

 

 

 

Liam Woodman / TV writer (NOT GOING OUT, LA LA LAND)

“It was fantastically liberating. The workshop is about being yourself and tapping into what is uniquely funny about you. At first it was pretty intimidating to stand in front of the group with out acting-up or spouting rehearsed funnies, but in time with encouragement, help and expert guidance from wonderful tutor Aitor Basauri it becomes a joy to lose yourself in the moment and improvise. Aitor has a wealth of experience as performer and teacher and was an incisive tutor. The advice he gave each of us students was unique to us, reinforcing the idea that the workshop was about your own private funniness. The group were perhaps the warmest and most generously supportive bunch I have ever had the privilage to work with and that undoubtedly added to the security I felt. Failing or ‘flopping’ became as much fun as getting a laugh, nearly.”

 

 

Amy Saunders / Miss Behave - performer (Variety Nighty, La Clique, La Soirée)

"Best workshop ive ever done. safe but playing with risk. light but deep, and FUN! so much fun!"

 

 

Mark Winstanley / drama tutor at University of Salford, Clown Lab

"I think that Aitor explained the games and exercises just enough for us to understand but he held back from over explaining if we were a little unsure. As a teacher I know that this is a really delicate balance to strike, explain too much and students play to the end they think you want. Explain too little and they can be totally lost. Everyone had at least one “Golden Moment” on the course. A moment that they will remember for a long time"

 

 

Garth Cutter, Manchester - Cutteruption blog

"To say I was nervous on the way to the first session is an understatement. I thought I’d be a fish out of water, a moron, not knowing my stage left from my stage right. As it turned out, it didn’t need to; in fact, needing to but not knowing would probably have been clown comedy gold. Everyone triumphed and flopped at one point or another, even the experienced people, so it didn’t matter that I was new to it... I guess the final question from anyone interested would be: ‘have the workshops been useful’? Yes, definitely: only recently the techniques I learned turned an awkward situation into one of the most enjoyable moments of my relatively short performance career."

 

 

Johnny Macaulay / Johnny Electrolux, London performer

"You did a fine job, you pushed but didnt bully, delivered bad news in a "shit sandwich" (complement/ criticism/ complement) and left no-one feeling belittled. I have been on other clown courses and this was one of the best."

 

 

Kalki Henenberg / 'Kalki Hula Girl', performer Australia I had never done a clown workshop before participating in Spymonkey's Clown Masterclass. I was terrified before even arriving on the first day - partly because i knew i would be working with mostly professional actors and street performers, and, while i am a performer, my work is essentially visual-sensation/short spots in variety shows. Plus, I hold Spymonkey's work in the highest regard and i didn't want Aitor to know how un-funny i really am. I was quite nervous the entire time, and shy, so i possibly didn't take nearly as many risks as would have benefitted me. But i listened very hard, and a lot did go in, despite being, as Aitor said, Very Estupid. I learned SO MUCH. Aitor has an incredible facility for explaining a point both verbally, and experientially with the use of games and exercises. It was hard work, and it was satisfying, despite day after day flopping left right and center. (And never once managing to master Mister Hit. Not once. Yeesh).

 

I do believe my own work has benefitted greatly from the workshop and as the information absorbed so intensively has time to resonate from my brain into my body, i think will continue to improve. I would do another one at the drop of a hat."

 

 

Peter Daniel Strauss, performer, New York This was workshop number two for me, and I can’t wait for number three! I’ve been moving into some new, exciting clowning territory in my work as a direct result of working with Spymonkey and I’m having so much fun!

 

 

Andrea Foa journalist, Italy What an amazing week! Huge, huge thank you to Aitor, Petra and each and everyone of you who took part in the workshop for being so supportive with a non-performer, you made me feel at home from the very beginning, which allowed me to take risks and have fun. Go Spymonkey!

Herma Vos dancer & chanteuse, Holland One week of fun, incredible laughs and such a good time!! Sharing all this with a groupe of adorable people....I JUST LOVED IT.....!!

 

 

Vera Chok actress, Malaysia/London Belly-laughter, support, ideas, and real friendships. Definitely returning for future sessions. Highly recommended for those new to clowning, as well as for old hands.

Where we've been

Spymonkey have taught around the world, including:

  • New York Clown Theatre Festival
  • Schkapf Los Angeles
  • Celebration Barn Maine
  • Clown Encuentro Colombia
  • École Phillippe Gaulier, Paris - Aitor has been a staff tutor since 2007
  • Cirque du Monde Foundation, Las Vegas USA - 2004-05
  • Innsbruck Festival der Träume 2012
  • Rote Nasen, Vienna Austria since 2010
  • Clown Doctors Berlin since 2011
  • Getxo Theatre School Bilbao Spain 2010
  • Palazzo Amsterdam 2009
  • Jyvaskyla Festival Finland 2008
  • Taipei International Arts Festival, Changhua, Kaohsiung Taiwan 2002
  • Toaca Arts Institute, Bucharest, Romania 2002
  • Sam Houston State University, Texas USA 2001
  • High Institute of Dramatic Art, Damascus, Syria 2001
  • Festival del Theatro del Cuerpo, Mexico City & Queretaro 2001/ 2002

 

 

UK lectures have included:

  • National Independent Schools Drama Association, national conference 2012, A-level & GCSE syllabus company since 2012
  • Winchester University Performing Arts, Street Arts, Arts Administration Bachelor of Arts
  • National Centre for Circus Arts - Bachelor of Arts & BTEC courses
  • Kingston University Drama and Performance Bachelor of Arts
  • Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse GCSE & A-level students
  • Nuffield Theatre, Southampton University, GCSE & A-level
  • University College Falmouth
  • University of Kent at Canterbury, BA

 

 

UK teaching and lectures have included:

 

Northampton University

 

University of Kent

 

National Independent Schools Drama Association conference 2012

 

Jacksons Lane London

 

Hijinx/Unity Festival, Wales Millenium Centre Cardiff 2012

 

Liverpool Everyman 2012

 

STORM, Lyric Hammersmith London, collaboration with Push & Graeae – June 2009 (here for video clip)

 

The Peoples Show Studio, London - since Sept 2010

 

Clown Lab, Salford University - Sept 2010

 

Lyric Hammersmith - since May 2010

 

Brighton Festival - since May 2006

 

Winchester University - since Feb 2010

 

Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff - since Nov 2009

 

The Rag Factory, London - Nov 2009

 

Filton College, Bristol - Oct 2009

 

Circus Space London - Toby and Petra have taught on several BA & BTEC courses since 1995

 

INSET training for Surrey & Southampton drama teachers - July 2001 & Sept 2002

 

Leeds Metropolitan University - Nov 2001

Smith Center Las Vegas clown masterclass 2012

 

OFFICE: UNIT 7B LEVEL 3 NORTH, NEW ENGLAND HOUSE

NEW ENGLAND STREET BRIGHTON BN1 4GH UK

T: +44 (0)1273 045039

E: info@spymonkey.co.uk

 

 

 

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