Latest News

A CHRISTMAS PRESENT FROM SPYMONKEY

ALL DAY Sunday 22nd December, our side-splittingly, eye-wateringly, laugh-out-loud funny Spymonkey’s Christmas Carol, recorded live at Liverpool Playhouse last year, will be free to view for everyone everywhere. Snuggle up, here’s the link: https://vimeo.com/r/2tEa/NUZYSm14Qy[link is valid all day tomorrow, Sunday 22nd, even though if you click on it today, Saturday, it says it has expired (as come clever arse pointed... View Article

Posted by > 21 December 2019

Why we started the Brassmonkey Bursary appeal

We decided it was time to stop complaining about the lack of diversity in our professional worlds of physical comedy, clown and devised theatre, and do something about it! We thought a place that we could have maximum impact was right at the outset of professional training – when people are forming budding creative relationships that then build into partnerships... View Article

Posted by > 29 November 2019

BRASSMONKEY BURSARY SCHEME ANNOUNCED

WE HAVE JUST LAUNCHED A NEW SCHEME TO OFFER FINANCIAL SUPPORT to performers from diverse backgrounds, to participate in our acclaimed clowning and business workshops. Since our inception in 1998, we have created some of the most outstandingly original theatre in Britain, drawing on the disciplines of clown, physical theatre and devised theatre. We are committed to supporting the development... View Article

Posted by > 18 November 2019

2020 LONDON WORKSHOPS

We’ve just announced our London 2020 workshops. Toby Park, joint Artistic Director of Spymonkey, will be leading a 5-day workshop on Music in Clown & Comedy 13th – 17th January 2020 at Toynbee Studios London E1 Full details of the workshop and how to apply are on the event page here: https://www.spymonkey.co.uk/wordpress/event/music-in-clown-comedy-jan20/ “The music and comedy workshop with Spymonkey is... View Article

Posted by > 14 November 2019

Spymonkey Jobs: Training & Education Officer

We are recruiting for a new freelance part-time post of Training and Education Officer to join Spymonkey’s small team of Managing Artistic Director and Producer. As our training and participation work expands this is a crucial role in overseeing the smooth running of this fundamental line of work, as well as the potential to develop new areas or projects we’ve... View Article

Posted by > 24 October 2019

HYSTERIA extended run in Tampa Florida

We’ve had a fantastic response to our 7 week run of Hysteria at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa. The run marks a landmark for Spymonkey as the longest residency we’ve ever undertaken, and also is the first time we’ve replaced original Spymonkey cast members. We’ve taken advantage of this US run to do some rebranding: HYSTERIA... View Article

Posted by > 10 October 2019

PETRA GOES VEGAS

Just announced: Joint Artistic Director Petra Massey is heading to Las Vegas for a year from this September, on loan from Spymonkey as host of Spiegelworld’s new Atomic Saloon Show at the Venetian Hotel on the Strip. The show is directed by Cal McCrystal, and will also have an inaugural run at Edinburgh Festival this August. Spiegelworld says: “Blazing Saddles”... View Article

Posted by > 23 April 2019

HYSTERIA IN THE USA

We can finally announce the news that has been burning a hole in our pockets for a while now. Cooped is headed to the USA! We will be rebranding the show for the USA as Spymonkey’s HYSTERIA, performing an extended 7-week run at the Straz Center Tampa, Florida, 17th Sept – 3rd Nov 2019. The show forms part of the... View Article

Posted by > 16 March 2019

Upcoming events

Mar
2
Mon
2020
LONDON 3-WEEK CLOWN CREATION SCHOOL @ Toynbee Studios London
Mar 2 @ 10:00 am – Mar 20 @ 7:00 pm
LONDON 3-WEEK CLOWN CREATION SCHOOL @ Toynbee Studios London

In March 2020 we are offering the second of our intensive three-week Clown Creation School, aimed at emerging and professional performers who would like to build on their clown and physical comedy work, and take it to the next level of production and performance. It will be led by Spymonkey artistic directors Aitor Basauri and Toby Park, long-standing associate Stephan Kreiss, and producer Emily Coleman.

We aim to build a strong ensemble dynamic, to encourage participants to go further and deeper into the work to explore new areas of comedic investigation, and to inspire and initiate new creative material and performing relationships that we hope will go on to flourish into the full glory of performance!

There will also be an opportunity to go through the basics of how to build a sustainable performing arts business with sessions on fundraising, budgeting and tour booking led by our producer.

We believe that we have learnt the most about performing from the process of creating and building work towards performance. So we will use this as an impetus to creativity by working towards a final presentation of new work for an invited audience.

The course is aimed at emerging and professional performers of intermediate and advanced levels of experience, 18+. Previous participation in a Spymonkey course will be an advantage but is not a requirement of the course.

Dates: 2nd – 20th March / Mondays – Fridays 10.30am – 5.30pm

Location: Toynbee Studios, 28 Commercial Rd, London

Week 1 / Clown Foundation

The first week will be an exploration of the fundamental principles of Spymonkey’s approach to creating comedy theatre. Led by Aitor Basauri, we will look at establishing a shared vocabulary of exercises and games: le Jeu, clown, pleasure, complicity, vulnerability, generosity, sensitivity. The emphasis of this week will be on recognising each performer’s unique quality of ridiculousness, and the pleasure of sharing that sense of ridiculousness with an audience.

Week 2 / Developing Clown Theatre in Context

Physical Comedy – exploration of comedic physicality, drawing on neutral mask and slapstick, led by Stephan Kreiss.

Music & Performance – developing comedic material through musical games and exercises, song-writing, musical theatre, instrumental ensembles and choreography, led by Toby Park.

The Business – seminars on running a business for emerging artists: fundraising, budgeting and tour booking with time to ask questions specific to your project, led by our producer Emily Coleman.

Week 3 / Creating, Writing & Directing

Practical tools for making physical comedy work in a range of performance contexts: theatre, cabaret, variety, circus, dance.

In the mornings we will continue to explore creating comedy theatre, including elements of melodrama (the pleasure of great acting) and bouffon (the pleasure of parody and the grotesque), as well as the wider themes introduced in week 2.

Our aim through the whole course will be to gather moments, double acts that we want to explore, build scenes, and look to develop these in the context of creating new work. In the afternoons we will have the opportunity to explore how to work on new material, led by the three workshop leaders.

The final Friday will climax in a presentation of some of this work-in-progress for an invited audience.

Cost and booking policy

Three week course
£1000 (inc. VAT) – full price
60% (including a 20% non-refundable deposit) is payable on registration.
40% is payable 1st February 2020

To apply

Please fill out the application form here: https://www.spymonkey.co.uk/wordpress/mar20-clown-creation-school-application-form/

For other information about the workshop please contact: education@spymonkey.co.uk

Brassmonkey Bursary Scheme

Spymonkey support the development of the next generation of comedy performers. In recognition of the lack of diversity in comedy performers on our stages, we will be running a bursary scheme for the Three Week Clown Creation School to support two individuals to participate in our workshops. The two bursary places will be offered to people from a diverse background and others who are otherwise underrepresented on our stages. For more information about how to apply for, or to donate to the scheme see the Brassmonkey Bursary page here.

Picture: participants of the Spymonkey Clown Creation School, London, October 2018
Apr
20
Mon
2020
NEW YORK CLOWN MASTERCLASS
Apr 20 @ 11:00 am – Apr 24 @ 6:00 pm

A rare masterclass opportunity with Spymonkey joint artistic director and internationally renowned teacher of clown, Aitor Basauri

CLOWN MASTERCLASS


 

In the Spymonkey clown masterclass, you will learn to discover what makes you funny, hone your skills and practice making an audience belly laugh! Through clear and specific instruction, Aitor will support you to develop and hone your comedic skills in a safe and fun environment. This positive group dynamic will allow you focus on following your impulse, being adventurous and taking risks. You will learn how to shine as a individual and improve on every spontaneous opportunity. In this highly enjoyable workshop you will play games, do exercises developing trust and complicity with the group. In this atmosphere of discovery and revelation, you will be developing and showing new material. Be prepared to find the pleasure in your own ridiculousness, stay optimistic, discover your comedy gold, and get ready to laugh until your face hurts. Technically there are many other engines to make people laugh: status games, parody and improvisation. In Spymonkey’s workshops we will touch on all of them, creating an enjoyable and revealing atmosphere to discover the unique way in which you’re funny. You will learn how to begin to trust your instinctive and spontaneous self. We will teach you technically how to make people laugh through status play-offs, parody, improvisation and many more games and exercises. All the sessions will be about creating a fresh, trusting and highly enjoyable workshop in an atmosphere of revelation to discover you’re funny.

Cost: $600

For bookings please email Devin Shacket devin.shacket@gmail.com

 


 

AITOR BASAURI, Spymonkey founder and joint artistic director, is one of the most sought after teachers of clown and physical comedy in the world. His  masterclasses in London, Europe and New York regularly sell out, and is a staff tutor at the Ecole Phillipe Gaulier in Paris, and for Cirque du Soleil’s Cirque du Monde foundation in Las Vegas. He has taught at New York Clown Theatre Festival, Celebration Barn Maine, The Clown School LA, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Las Vegas Theatre Hub, and at universities, institutes, and festivals to students, professionals and clown doctors all over the world including Madrid, Berlin, Damascus and Taipei.

Aitor studied at the Centro Andaluz de Teatro in Seville and at the Philippe Gaulier School in London. He has performed in every Spymonkey show to date, including Stiff (1998), Cooped (2001), Zumanity (for Cirque du Soleil 2003), Moby Dick (2009), Love In (2011), Oedipussy (2012) and The Complete Deaths (2016). Acting credits include The Servant of Two Masters (Sheffield Crucible 1996), Axomate (Seville Expo 1992), Eulenspiegel (1991) and in Karl’s Kuhne Gassenchau’s Grand Paradis and Stau (Zurich 1997 and 1998). He directed Little Prince for Donkey Productions (1997), Un Vento Impetuoso for La Canoppia (1996) and Meci Y Me Fui for Pez Enraya ( 1997). In 1999 he appeared in Circus Knie, the Swiss State Circus, and in 2000 formed his own company Punto Fijo, based in Bilbao. He also appeared in Cirque Images’ 2003 series ‘Solstrom’ for Bravo Cable Network, performed in Zumanity – Another Side of Cirque du Soleil at the New York New York Hotel Casino, Las Vegas, 2003-05, and in Bertold Brecht’s Senor Carrera’s Rifles at the Young Vic, directed by Paul Hunter (2007). He has worked as physical comedy director for Sacha Baron Cohen on ‘Grimsby’ (2014) and Chichester Festival Theatre’s ‘Mack & Mabel’ (2015).

More information and testimonials about our workshops on our Clown Masterclass page.

 

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Jun
14
Sun
2020
CELEBRATION BARN MAINE – CREATING CLOWN MATERIAL @ Celebration Barn, Maine
Jun 14 @ 10:00 am – Jun 20 @ 5:00 pm
CELEBRATION BARN MAINE - CREATING CLOWN MATERIAL @ Celebration Barn, Maine | Paris | Maine | United States
Masterclass with Spymonkey’s Aitor Basauri
 
CREATING CLOWN MATERIAL
 
Celebration Barn, Maine
 
LIMITED CAPACITY. REGISTER TODAY!
To reserve a place go to the Celebration Barn website: http://www.celebrationbarn.com/event/spymonkeys-creating-clown-material-2020/

How do you make a show from scratch? This workshop is designed to understand the process from early conception through to production.

In this workshop we open up our creative toolbox and show you how to create material from the smallest seed of an idea, how our greatest ideas are right under our noses (if only we knew how to look), how to build a number or scene and how to keep the work fresh both in rehearsal and in performance. We look at the context of the spaces we are creating for – large and small theatre spaces, cabaret, variety, street theatre, circus. We investigate the fundamentals – use of costume, props, lighting and sound. And we explore more advanced concepts – writing tools, devising games, character, group dynamics, status, narrative, dramatic structure, musicality and physicality.

Spymonkey have over 15 years of experience in creating devised shows with leading directors: Cal McCrystal (Mighty Boosh, Peepolykus, National Theatre’s ‘One Man Two Guvnors’), Jos Houben (Theatre du Complicite, The Right Size, École Jacques Lecoq Paris), Emma Rice (artistic director of Kneehigh) and Paul Hunter (artistic director of Told By An Idiot).

“I’ve done three Spymonkey workshops…I’m always banging on about Spymonkey. Whatever, I think they’re totally inspiring.” – LUCY HOPKINS creator of LE FOULARD, winner Adelaide Fringe Best Theatre and Best Performer Awards, Prague Fringe Creative Award.

Register by May 1st and receive a $50 Early Bird Discount. A 10% discount is available to individuals registering for more than one workshop. (If registering for multiple workshops prior to May 1st, select either the Early Bird or 10% Multiple Workshops Discount.) See the registration form for details.

NOTE: There are no discounts for Residencies.

 

ABOUT SPYMONKEY
 
Since their inception in 1998 Spymonkey have created some of the most outstandingly original comedy theatre, including STIFF, COOPED, MOBY DICK, OEDIPUSSY, ZUMANITY (for Cirque du Soleil), JEKYLL & HYDE(ISH) (with Lyric Hammersmith) and EVERY LAST TRICK (with Royal & Derngate). TV and stage appearances have seen them work alongside Sacha Baron Cohen, Miranda Hart, Sandi Toksvig,Ronnie Corbett, Fiona Shaw and Nick Frost. Widely acknowledged as world leaders in the field of clown and physical comedy, they are keenly sought as teachers, consultants and directors for their insight and experience in creating brilliant, original and singular work.
 
Aitor talks about clown
 
“I do theatre because it is fun because it makes me live life twice and I love life! The clown lives in a fantastic theatrical world. For an actor the clown stimulates a fresh immediacy full of pleasure and mischief. It is this brimming pleasure that fills the performer and touches an audience. The audience in turn feel they are watching something very special and unique because the clown is generous, sharing with them their most intimate vulnerability, fun and unique personality. The performer who dares to stand before a crowd, unafraid to make mistakes and find pleasure in being wonderfully silly will reap fruitful rewards. In Spymonkey we strongly believe that it is in this moment that the seed for the best performances can begin. Once up there in front of the audience, that pleasure will take you from one funny mistake to the next, always happy, always optimistic o be playing in front of the audience. By being joyful, playful, curious, mischievous and full of fantasy you will find funny opportunities. ”
 
Jane Nichols / professor, Yale School of Drama/WU
 
“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.”

 

Jun
21
Sun
2020
CELEBRATION BARN MAINE – BOUFFON: DARE TO MOCK @ Celebration Barn, Maine
Jun 21 @ 10:00 am – Jun 27 @ 5:00 pm
CELEBRATION BARN MAINE - BOUFFON: DARE TO MOCK @ Celebration Barn, Maine | Paris | Maine | United States
with Spymonkey’s Aitor Basauri
 
BOUFFON: DARE TO MOCK
 
Celebration Barn, Maine

A love for the grotesque, the forbidden, bad taste, irony, parody, and all things deformed— these are the toys and tools of the bouffon – the outcast who lives to provoke the audience without losing the love of the audience.

In this rich theatrical world, the character lives to provoke the audience without losing their love. The stakes so high that if they lose the love of the audience, the bouffon will get KILLED.

In this workshop we will play games and exercises that will help every performer to find that place where their personal Bouffon is – a place of risk, a place of danger, a place of daring. In contrast to the Clown, the key to the Bouffon is discovering the intelligence of the performer in parodying, their cleverness in simultaneously daring to mock and provoke the audience, whilst staying alive, a balancing act which requires supreme sensitivity.

Aitor Basauri is an internationally recognized teacher of clown and physical comedy. Amongst the numerous directing credits to his name, he is most recently co-writer and director of the renowned bouffon Red Bastard’s latest show Lie With Me.

Horrible!  Despicable. Self Indulgent. But enough about me… Aitor Basauri is a fantastic director. He injected humor, depth and theatricality to my work as a bouffon. Highly recommended. But don’t tell him I said that.

-Eric Davis (Red Bastard)

Register by May 1st and receive a $50 Early Bird Discount. A 10% discount is available to individuals registering for more than one workshop. (If registering for multiple workshops prior to May 1st, select either the Early Bird or 10% Multiple Workshops Discount.) See the registration form for details.
NOTE: There are no discounts for Residencies.

ABOUT SPYMONKEY
 
Since their inception in 1998 Spymonkey have created some of the most outstandingly original comedy theatre, including STIFF, COOPED, MOBY DICK, OEDIPUSSY, ZUMANITY (for Cirque du Soleil), JEKYLL & HYDE(ISH) (with Lyric Hammersmith) and EVERY LAST TRICK (with Royal & Derngate). TV and stage appearances have seen them work alongside Sacha Baron Cohen, Miranda Hart, Sandi Toksvig,Ronnie Corbett, Fiona Shaw and Nick Frost. Widely acknowledged as world leaders in the field of clown and physical comedy, they are keenly sought as teachers, consultants and directors for their insight and experience in creating brilliant, original and singular work.
 
Aitor talks about clown
 
“I do theatre because it is fun because it makes me live life twice and I love life! The clown lives in a fantastic theatrical world. For an actor the clown stimulates a fresh immediacy full of pleasure and mischief. It is this brimming pleasure that fills the performer and touches an audience. The audience in turn feel they are watching something very special and unique because the clown is generous, sharing with them their most intimate vulnerability, fun and unique personality. The performer who dares to stand before a crowd, unafraid to make mistakes and find pleasure in being wonderfully silly will reap fruitful rewards. In Spymonkey we strongly believe that it is in this moment that the seed for the best performances can begin. Once up there in front of the audience, that pleasure will take you from one funny mistake to the next, always happy, always optimistic o be playing in front of the audience. By being joyful, playful, curious, mischievous and full of fantasy you will find funny opportunities. ”
 
Jane Nichols / professor, Yale School of Drama/WU
 
“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.”