Upcoming Events

Jan
26
Fri
2018
Physical Comedy for Dummies @ Arts at Marks Honolulu
Jan 26 @ 6:00 pm – Feb 4 @ 7:00 pm
Physical Comedy for Dummies @ Arts at Marks Honolulu | Hawaii | United States

Hawai’i Artists to Learn Secrets of Physical Comedy Success

Double Weekend Workshop on Jan. 26th in Honolulu at ARTS at MARKS

Master Teacher, Aitor Basauri and the ARTS at MARKS
will offer a new workshop over two weekends, “Physical Comedy for Dummies” on Fri.,
Jan. 26 at 6pm – Sun., Feb. 4. The only international workshop of its kind in Honolulu,
“Physical Comedy for Dummies” is designed to help artists, performers, and all public
speakers overcome challenging issues in understanding how to make people laugh. The
six-day workshop is designed to transform attendees, unleash inner fun and to find
freedom. The workshop will culminate in a Showcase on Sun., Feb. 4 at 2pm.
Master Teacher Aitor Basauri is a founding member of England’s leading physical
comedy theatre company, SpyMonkey. Their latest acclaimed work, The Complete
Deaths, was performed throughout Europe and at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre.
Basauri has performed his own work with Cirque de Soleil in Las Vegas, and is a Master
teacher at the Ecole Philippe Gaulier in France. “Physical Comedy for Dummies” will begin
on Jan. 26 from 6pm at the ARTS at MARKS, 1159 Nu’uanu Avenue, Honolulu. The cost
is $500 ($450 before Jan. 15) for both weekends, including admission to the Showcase.

To reserve or for more information, call 917.225.8139, or visit www.artsatmarks.com.

Feb
14
Wed
2018
CLOWN MASTERCLASS NYC @ t.b.c.
Feb 14 @ 11:00 am – Feb 18 @ 6:00 pm

Spymonkey joint artistic director and internationally renowned teacher of clown, Aitor Basauri returns to New York for a

CLOWN MASTERCLASS

11am – 6pm / Wed 14th – Sun 18th February 2018 / Cost: $625


TO APPLY: please email thenewyorkdramacenter@gmail.com


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.


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).

Spymonkey was founded by Toby Park, Petra Massey and Aitor Basauri in 1997. With their dark, edgy physical comedy rooted ‘somewhere between Monty Python, the Marx Brothers and Samuel Beckett’ (The Houston Chronicle), and a quartet of performers from Spain, Germany and England, Spymonkey have proved to be a truly international phenomenon, enjoyed by and accessible to a wide range of international audiences.

More information about this workshop on our Clown Masterclass page.

 

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Mar
6
Tue
2018
THE BUSINESS #1: COMPANY DEVELOPMENT @ Toynbee Studios London
Mar 6 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
THE BUSINESS #1: COMPANY DEVELOPMENT @ Toynbee Studios London | England | United Kingdom

Join Spymonkey’s managing artistic director Toby Park and producer Emily Coleman in the first of our spring business sessions, as they talk through how they formed as a small independent company and have grown the business over the last 20 years.

The session is aimed at theatre companies and individual artists who are working on getting a show off the ground, developing touring for a show that already exists, or in need of advice about operating a company efficiently, legally and professionally.

With over 10 years experience producing small and mid-scale theatre, and supporting numerous artists to make and tour their work, Emily will work through practical tips in fundraising, simple financial management and tour booking. Armed with template budgets and spreadsheets for you to take away Emily and Toby will also answer any questions about getting your work out to the people.

Cost: £25 each session, £40 for both
(discount for clown masterclass participants: £20 / £32 for both)

To book a place please contact education@spymonkey.co.uk

 

Mar
7
Wed
2018
THE BUSINESS #2: MARKETING @ Toynbee Studios London
Mar 7 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
THE BUSINESS #2: MARKETING @ Toynbee Studios London | England | United Kingdom

In the second of our new business sessions, Spymonkey’s managing artistic director Toby Park and producer Emily Coleman focus on marketing: once you’ve made your show how do you sell it?

The session is aimed at theatre companies and individual artists who are working on getting a show off the ground, developing a show that already exists, or in need of advice about marketing.

We will look at branding, publicity, how to assemble a marketing pack for touring venues, tips for making promo materials and distribution across social media. There will be an opportunity to answer questions and address specific needs of participants.

Cost: £25 each session, £40 for both
(discount for clown masterclass participants: £20 / £32 for both)

To book a place please contact education@spymonkey.co.uk

 

Apr
23
Mon
2018
MUSIC IN COMEDY & PERFORMANCE @ Toynbee Studios London
Apr 23 @ 10:30 am – Apr 27 @ 5:30 pm

23rd – 27th April 2018 / 10.30am – 5.30pm / Cost £340 (£283 + VAT)

Toynbee Studios, 28 Commercial St, London E1 6AB

Led by Toby Park, jt artistic director & musical director

——-——-——-——-——-——-

TO APPLY: please download and fill out our booking form (downloadable HERE) and follow instructions.

——-——-——-——-——-——-

Music has always played a huge part of the Spymonkey creative process – we think early on in our writing about what the show might offer in the way of deliciously inappropriate original songs, musical theatre genres that we want to explore, unlikely cover versions of existing songs, speciality variety acts, original music in a range of genres and styles to inspire us to new choreographic heights, sound effects that establish their own theatrical conventions (and then break them hilariously).

Musical performance comes with its own set of recognisable conventions: conventions of genre, of status relationships, of audience expectation, of ‘how things ought to be’. And as comedic performers we are drawn to these structures like kids to a climbing frame – they supply us with the framework on which we can swing, dance, vault, somersault, generally have a ball. We can also fall off them and hurt ourselves: there’s risk and danger there too, which keeps everything exciting.

In this 5 day workshop we will explore how Spymonkey use music to lead us into unique and totally original comedic territory. We will explore Pleasure: the clown’s pleasure of being ridiculous on stage, the generous pleasure of playing with our friends, the pleasure of performing music together, the pleasure of pursuing grand ambitions, of unlikely choices, of aiming high, of making terrible mistakes and failing woefully! The pleasure of making an audience laugh their socks off.

How do you start to build a musical speciality act? How do you create a brilliant dance routine? How do you write a song that will make people piss their pants? How can music unite a disparate group of performers into one vibrantly harmonic unit? (And then have it all fall apart again catastrophically?) Using the principles of clown that will be familiar to students of Spymonkey’s work – vulnerability, generosity, pleasure, optimism, complicity – we will explore all these things and more.

If you have an instrument we’ll ask you to bring it with you. But you won’t need to be able to play an instrument, or to sing, or to have done a Spymonkey workshop before, to stretch your musical and comedic sensibilities in order to create new work unique to you.

The Fabulous Backstrom Brothers, Helsinki 2016 – clown opera directed by Toby Park and Aitor Basauri

We made this a while ago now for our show ‘Bless’, but still one of our favourite bit of music and comedy!

——-——-——-——-——-——-

Toby Park is joint founder, managing artistic director, performer and musical director of the Brighton-based international theatre company Spymonkey. With Spymonkey he created and performed around the world the groundbreaking clown theatre shows STIFF, COOPED, ZUMANITY (with Cirque du Soleil Las Vegas), BLESS, MOBY DICK, OEDIPUSSY, LOVE IN and THE COMPLETE DEATHS. Comedy director for Chichester Festival Theatre’s MACK & MABEL starring Michael Ball; director and co-creator of the Finnish clown opera Fabulous Backstrom Brothers at Kapsakki Theatre Helsinki, and BIG BANG SIEGFRIED for Hagen Symphony Orchestra/Theatre Hagen, Germany. Other directing credits include Emma Edwards and Abigail Dooley’s award-winning ENTER THE DRAGONS, Hijinx’s opening and closing ceremonies for Unity Festival, Wales Millennium Centre, and Spike Theatre’s THE GAMES and SHIP OF FOOLS. He has taught clown, music and comedy workshops around the world, including the National Theatre Connections programme for directors.

Jun
4
Mon
2018
MAINE BOUFFON @ Celebration Barn, Maine
Jun 4 @ 10:00 am – Jun 9 @ 5:00 pm
MAINE BOUFFON @ Celebration Barn, Maine | Paris | Maine | United States
BOUFFON
June 4th – 9th 2018
 
Celebration Barn, Maine
 
Cost: $600
 
LIMITED CAPACITY. REGISTER TODAY!
To reserve a place go to the Celebration Barn website: http://www.celebrationbarn.com/event/spymonkeys-creating-clown-material-2018/

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)

 


ABOUT AITOR
 
Aitor was born in Bilbao, Spain. For the past 20 years he has been teaching and performing clown all over the world. He is one of the most sought-after clown teachers in the world, regularly holding sold-out master classes in London and New York. Aitor has been staff tutor at École Philippe Gaulier Paris; taught for Cirque du Soleil/Cirque du Monde Foundation, New York Clown Theatre Festival, Celebration Barn Maine, and at universities, institutes, and festivals to students, professionals and clown doctors all over the world including Madrid, Berlin, Damascus, and Taipei. He is also a co-founder and performer in the internationally renowned clown company, SPYMONKEY. His teachers include Phiippe Gaulier, Cal McCrystal and Pierre Byland. Aitor most recently directed Manifest Destiny created by Zack Fine and Lucas Caleb Rooney, a Frances Black Project.
 
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
11
Mon
2018
LOS ANGELES CLOWN MASTERCLASS @ The Eleven Studios, Los Angeles
Jun 11 @ 10:30 am – Jun 15 @ 5:30 pm

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

CLOWN MASTERCLASS

10.30am – 5.30pm / 11th – 15th June 2018 / The Eleven Studios, Glendale LA


 

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: $500

For bookings please email Daniel Passer danielpasser@mac.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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Jul
2
Mon
2018
MAINE CREATING CLOWN MATERIAL @ Celebration Barn, Maine
Jul 2 @ 10:00 am – Jul 7 @ 5:00 pm
MAINE CREATING CLOWN MATERIAL @ Celebration Barn, Maine | Paris | Maine | United States
Masterclass with Spymonkey’s Aitor Basauri
 
CREATING CLOWN MATERIAL
July 2nd – 7th 2018
 
Celebration Barn, Maine
 
Cost: $600
 
LIMITED CAPACITY. REGISTER TODAY!
To reserve a place go to the Celebration Barn website: http://www.celebrationbarn.com/event/spymonkeys-creating-clown-material-2018/
How do you make a show from scratch? This workshop is designed to understand the process from early conception through to production. Spymonkey have over a decade of experience in creating devised shows and have worked with some of the best directors in this field from Cal McCrystal (Mighty Boosh, Peepolykus, National Theatre’s ‘One Man Two Guvnors’) and Jos Houben (Theatre du Complicite, The Right Size, École Jacques Lecoq Paris) to Emma Rice (artistic director of Kneehigh). In our devising 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.
 
ABOUT AITOR
 
Aitor was born in Bilbao, Spain. For the past 20 years he has been teaching and performing clown all over the world. He is one of the most sought-after clown teachers in the world, regularly holding sold-out master classes in London and New York. Aitor has been staff tutor at École Philippe Gaulier Paris; taught for Cirque du Soleil/Cirque du Monde Foundation, New York Clown Theatre Festival, Celebration Barn Maine, and at universities, institutes, and festivals to students, professionals and clown doctors all over the world including Madrid, Berlin, Damascus, and Taipei. He is also a co-founder and performer in the internationally renowned clown company, SPYMONKEY. His teachers include Phiippe Gaulier, Cal McCrystal and Pierre Byland. Aitor most recently directed Manifest Destiny created by Zack Fine and Lucas Caleb Rooney, a Frances Black Project.
 
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.”

 

Aug
27
Mon
2018
BERLIN MUSIC, CLOWN & COMEDY @ Tangotanzen Macht Schön
Aug 27 – Aug 31 all-day

27th – 31st August 2018 – 3.5 hrs per day, exact times to be confirmed

Led by Toby Park, Spymonkey jt artistic director & musical director

——-——-——-——-——-——-

For registration details please email Waltraud Boll: waltraud.boll@gmx.de

Presented in association with Maske Und Mantel – Visit their blog here

——-——-——-——-——-——-

Music has always played a huge part of the Spymonkey creative process – we think early on in our writing about what the show might offer in the way of deliciously inappropriate original songs, musical theatre genres that we want to explore, unlikely cover versions of existing songs, speciality variety acts, original music in a range of genres and styles to inspire us to new choreographic heights, sound effects that establish their own theatrical conventions (and then break them hilariously).

Musical performance comes with its own set of recognisable conventions: conventions of genre, of status relationships, of audience expectation, of ‘how things ought to be’. And as comedic performers we are drawn to these structures like kids to a climbing frame – they supply us with the framework on which we can swing, dance, vault, somersault, generally have a ball. We can also fall off them and hurt ourselves: there’s risk and danger there too, which keeps everything exciting.

In this 5 day workshop we will explore how Spymonkey use music to lead us into unique and totally original comedic territory. We will explore Pleasure: the clown’s pleasure of being ridiculous on stage, the generous pleasure of playing with our friends, the pleasure of performing music together, the pleasure of pursuing grand ambitions, of unlikely choices, of aiming high, of making terrible mistakes and failing woefully! The pleasure of making an audience laugh their socks off.

How do you start to build a musical speciality act? How do you create a brilliant dance routine? How do you write a song that will make people piss their pants? How can music unite a disparate group of performers into one vibrantly harmonic unit? (And then have it all fall apart again catastrophically?) Using the principles of clown that will be familiar to students of Spymonkey’s work – vulnerability, generosity, pleasure, optimism, complicity – we will explore all these things and more.

If you have an instrument we’ll ask you to bring it with you. But you won’t need to be able to play an instrument, or to sing, or to have done a Spymonkey workshop before, to stretch your musical and comedic sensibilities in order to create new work unique to you.

The Fabulous Backstrom Brothers, Helsinki 2016 – clown opera directed by Toby Park and Aitor Basauri

We made this a while ago now for our show ‘Bless’, but still one of our favourite bit of music and comedy!

——-——-——-——-——-——-

Toby Park is joint founder, managing artistic director, performer and musical director of the Brighton-based international theatre company Spymonkey. With Spymonkey he created and performed around the world the groundbreaking clown theatre shows STIFF, COOPED, ZUMANITY (with Cirque du Soleil Las Vegas), BLESS, MOBY DICK, OEDIPUSSY, LOVE IN and THE COMPLETE DEATHS.

Physical comedy directing work includes Royal Shakespeare Company’s THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR (2018); Chichester Festival Theatre’s MACK & MABEL (2015) starring Michael Ball; The National Theatre’s THE SUICIDE (2016); FANTASTIC MR FOX for Nuffield Southampton and Lyric Hammersmith. Director and co-creator of the Finnish clown opera FABULOUS BACKSTROM BROTHERS at Kapsakki Theatre Helsinki (2014), and BIG BANG SIEGFRIED (2016) for Hagen Symphony Orchestra/Theatre Hagen, Germany; co-director of Emma Edwards and Abigail Dooley’s award-winning ENTER THE DRAGONS; co-director of Hijinx’s opening and closing ceremonies for Unity Festival at the Wales Millennium Centre and THE FLOP (2018); and Spike Theatre’s THE GAMES and SHIP OF FOOLS. Writer on the international fan-show hit GRAEME OF THRONES, including US and Australian tours.

He has taught clown, music and comedy workshops around the world, including NT Young Company, Maske und Mantel Berlin, the National Theatre Connections programme for youth theatre leaders and directors, University of Kent, University of Chichester, University of Northampton, University of Winchester.

Oct
1
Mon
2018
LONDON 3-WEEK CLOWN CREATION SCHOOL @ Toynbee Studios London
Oct 1 @ 10:00 am – Oct 19 @ 7:00 pm
LONDON 3-WEEK CLOWN CREATION SCHOOL @ Toynbee Studios London | England | United Kingdom

This October we are offering a new form of workshop: a three-week autumn school aimed at performers who would like to follow clown and physical comedy work through to full production and performance level, led by Spymonkey founders and artistic directors, Aitor Basauri, Petra Massey and Toby Park, 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 examine the basics of how to build a sustainable performing arts business.

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.

Priority will be given to participants taking the full 3 weeks course. Those wishing to attend for single weeks of the course will go on a waiting list, and availability will be at the discretion of the workshop leaders.

Dates: 1st – 19th October 2018 / 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 in Context

Physical Comedy & Slapstick – exploration of comedic physicality and devising tools, led by Petra Massey.

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

The Business – optional sessions on running a business for emerging artists: finance, funding, branding and marketing, 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 work on this new material, led by all three of the workshop leaders. This will climax in a presentation of this new work for an invited audience.

 

 

Cost and booking policy

Three week course
£800 (inc. VAT) – early bird places are now fully taken
£850 (inc. VAT) – full price
A 20% non-refundable deposit is payable on registration
40% is payable 1st August
40% is payable 1st September

Single week participants
Priority will be given to participants wanting to study for the full 3 week course.
Participants wishing to take a single week will pay a returnable 20% deposit to join the waiting list, to be confirmed in September.
Single week cost: £340 (inc. VAT) per week

 

To apply

Please fill out the form here: https://www.spymonkey.co.uk/wordpress/oct18-clown-crea…application-form/

 

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

 

Picture credit: (c) Spymonkey 2013
Spymonkey devising workshop at Jackson’s Lane, with Jody Kamali, Alex Rex, Matt Sutton, Hew Parham and David Tutton

 

Mar
23
Sat
2019
Kings of Comedy – Cal McCrystal & Spymonkey @ Old Diorama Arts Centre
Mar 23 @ 9:30 am – 5:30 pm

About The Event

CAL McCRYSTAL

Cal is in huge demand for both the stage and screen and has achieved notable international success as the Physical Comedy Director for the National Theatre and Broadway smash hit comedy One Man Two Guvnors. He has directed for Cirque du Soleil, Spymonkey, The Royal Shakespeare Company and gained critical acclaim for the English National Opera’s production of Llolanthe and as Director of Gifford Circus. Away from the stage, he has a growing list of TV and Movie credits contributing to box office hits including Spiderman 2, the Paddington films and the soon-to-be-released movie of the musical Cats

SPYMONKEY

International physical comedy company, Spymonkey are masters of funny. Their work is groundbreaking and brilliantly funny, creating live theatre that simply refuses to be taken seriously. Artistic Director Toby Park or Petra Massey will lead a masterclass in funny and share some of the creative genius that has entertained audiences all over the world.

Suitable for teachers, directors and performers who want to learn how the very best in the business make great theatre.

Learn some of the techniques and creative approaches that have built their global reputations and share the ideas with your own students, cast members or audiences long after the event.

Approximate timings are

9.30am -Arrival and sign in

10.00am – 1.00pm – Masterclass 1. Cal McCrystal

2.30pm – 5.30pm – Masterclass 2 Spymonkey

All participants receive a Theatre Masterclass Note-Tote containing helpful notes and ideas to help develop the experience long after the event.

This is another unmissable experience for performers of all kinds and will give you a day of professional development training like no other. With limited places available for this exciting Theatre Masterclass event, early booking is advised. Please register now to avoid missing out and subscribe to make sure you are first to know about our future events.

*All named practitioners are confirmed at the time of publishing the event details. If a named practitioner is unable to attend, we will inform all ticket holders and options for tickets to be refunded, in full or part, will be offered if alternative dates cannot be attended.

If an event is cancelled, all ticket holders will be informed without delay and offered a full refund. Please note – Only the full cost of the ticket will be refunded. Travel tickets and hotels will not be refunded by Theatre Masterclass. You are advised to book hotels and travel tickets that can be cancelled for a refund. If you are unsure, please check with the provider.

Mar
30
Sat
2019
National Theatre – Creative Development for Young People @ National Theatre Studio
Mar 30 @ 10:00 am – Mar 31 @ 5:00 pm

Toby Park and Petra Massey lead a weekend introduction for 16-21 year olds in Spymonkey creative practise.

More details on the National Theatre website here.

Workshop dates:

Saturday 30 March, 10am – 5pm
Sunday 31 March, 10am – 5pm
John Lyons Education Studio, National Theatre Studio

This project is available to 16–21-year-olds and is free to take part in

What is the most ridiculous thing that you have always wanted to perform on stage? Taking this question as your starting point, this practical performance weekend will use clowning techniques, music and slapstick, to help you discover what makes you funny, hone your skills and practice making an audience belly laugh.

You don’t need any experience in comedic acting or clowning to take part, just a willingness to find pleasure in your own ridiculousness and laugh until your face hurts. At the heart of this weekend is the Spymonkey philosophy that the funniest thing about you is YOU!

This fun and practical project is led by Toby Park and Petra Massey from Spymonkey, a physical comedy company who have been making sublimely hilarious and deeply ridiculous theatre since 1998.

How to apply:

To apply, visit the National Theatre website and follow instructions. Applications need to be made by Wedesday 27 February. National Theatre will be asking everyone to attend a practical audition workshop on Monday 4 March, so they can meet you, play some games and find out more about who you are. Please let us know which times you are able to attend when you apply.

Bursaries

We would never want the cost of a project to prevent anyone from taking part. A limited number of travel bursaries are available. If you would like to apply for one, please indicate this on the form when you apply.

Austin Texas – Introduction to Clown
Mar 30 @ 10:00 am – Mar 31 @ 5:30 pm

Introduction to clown with Aitor Basauri.

For more details on our clown workshops please visit the workshop pages of our website.

Apr
5
Fri
2019
Dallas Texas – Introduction to Clown
Apr 5 @ 10:00 am – Apr 7 @ 5:30 pm

3-day introduction to clown with Aitor Basauri.

Please contact the organiser Hilary Chaplain on hilary@hilarychaplain.com for more details of how to book.

For more details on our clown workshops please visit the workshop pages of our website.

Apr
9
Tue
2019
NEW YORK CLOWN MASTERCLASS
Apr 9 @ 10:00 am – Apr 13 @ 5:00 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: $500

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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Apr
15
Mon
2019
TORONTO CLOWN MASTERCLASS @ Sweet Action Theatre
Apr 15 @ 10:00 am – Apr 19 @ 5:00 pm

In association with Sweet Action Theatre Company Toronto: 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.

For more details and booking please visit the Sweet Action Theatre website.

 

 


 

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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Apr
29
Mon
2019
MUSIC IN CLOWN & COMEDY @ Toynbee Studios London
Apr 29 @ 10:30 am – May 3 @ 5:30 pm

29th April – 3rd May 2019 / 10.30am – 5.30pm / Cost £350 (£292 + VAT)

Toynbee Studios, 28 Commercial St, London E1 6AB

Led by Toby Park, jt artistic director & musical director Spymonkey

——-——-——-——-——-——-

This workshop is full and is now WAITING LIST ONLY

To be put on the waiting list please fill out this online booking form.

——-——-——-——-——-——-

Music has always played a huge part of the Spymonkey creative process – we think early on in our writing about what the show might offer in the way of deliciously inappropriate original songs, musical theatre genres that we want to explore, unlikely cover versions of existing songs, speciality variety acts, original music in a range of genres and styles to inspire us to new choreographic heights, sound effects that establish their own theatrical conventions (and then break them hilariously).

Musical performance comes with its own set of recognisable conventions: conventions of genre, of status relationships, of audience expectation, of ‘how things ought to be’. And as comedic performers we are drawn to these structures like kids to a climbing frame – they supply us with the framework on which we can swing, dance, vault, somersault, generally have a ball. We can also fall off them and hurt ourselves: there’s risk and danger there too, which keeps everything exciting.

In this 5 day workshop we will explore how Spymonkey use music to lead us into unique and totally original comedic territory. We will explore Pleasure: the clown’s pleasure of being ridiculous on stage, the generous pleasure of playing with our friends, the pleasure of performing music together, the pleasure of pursuing grand ambitions, of unlikely choices, of aiming high, of making terrible mistakes and failing woefully! The pleasure of making an audience laugh their socks off.

How do you start to build a musical speciality act? How do you create a brilliant dance routine? How do you write a song that will make people piss their pants? How can music unite a disparate group of performers into one vibrantly harmonic unit? (And then have it all fall apart again catastrophically?) Using the principles of clown that will be familiar to students of Spymonkey’s work – vulnerability, generosity, pleasure, optimism, complicity – we will explore all these things and more.

Suitable for professionals and students of performance 18+

YOU DON’T NEED TO BE A MUSICIAN TO DO THIS WORKSHOP! You need only a sense of curiosity about how far you can stretch the limits of your performing, and the willingness to put yourself into difficult situations in order to make other people laugh at you too.

If you have an instrument we’ll ask you to bring it with you. But you won’t need to know how to play it well, or to sing, or to have done a Spymonkey workshop before, to stretch your musical and comedic sensibilities in order to create new work unique to you.

The Fabulous Backstrom Brothers, Helsinki 2016 – clown opera directed by Toby Park and Aitor Basauri

We made this a while ago now for our show ‘Bless’, but still one of our favourite bit of music and comedy!

——-——-——-——-——-——-

Toby Park is joint founder, managing artistic director, performer and musical director of the Brighton-based international theatre company Spymonkey. With Spymonkey he created and performed around the world the groundbreaking clown theatre shows STIFF, COOPED, ZUMANITY (with Cirque du Soleil Las Vegas), BLESS, MOBY DICK, OEDIPUSSY, LOVE IN and THE COMPLETE DEATHS. Physical comedy director for RSC’s MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR, National Theatre’s TARTUFFE, Chichester Festival Theatre’s MACK & MABEL starring Michael Ball; director and co-creator of the Finnish clown opera Fabulous Backstrom Brothers at Kapsakki Theatre Helsinki, and BIG BANG SIEGFRIED for Hagen Symphony Orchestra/Theatre Hagen, Germany. Other directing credits include Emma Edwards and Abigail Dooley’s award-winning ENTER THE DRAGONS, Hijinx’s THE FLOP (Total Theatre Award Nominee), Hijinx’s opening and closing ceremonies for Unity Festival at Wales Millennium Centre, and Spike Theatre’s THE GAMES and SHIP OF FOOLS. He has taught clown, music and comedy workshops around the world, including the National Theatre Connections programme for directors.

 

——-——-——-——-——-——-

 

GEMMA ROGERS singer/songwriter, performer, playwright says:

“Imagine being in a class with a group of people wearing luminous tutus, beaver tails and loo paper scarves where you are praised for being an idiot. In fact you revel in those words. Because on some level, It means you have succeeded (temporarily) in the complex art of clowning.

“As a writer, words are my ammunition. Without them and armed only with your face and physicality, it can feel strange – scary even –  but under Toby Park’s magical guidance I began to push through the boundaries. With the use of funny improv exercises, discussions and musical instruments ( not to mention Toby tuning several bottles of water to fit the notes for a song from Carmen ) – a group of us  performed songs and  one man acts to a hell of a lot of laughter. I left the Toynbee studios feeling I’d shed 15 years of my life.

“If you ever get a chance to embark on a Spymonkey clowning workshop- be brave and jump at it – no red noses or big flappy feet required.”

gemandthemilmen.com (still from My Idea of Fun)

 

 

FIONA COFFEY writer/performer, Honey’s Happening

“Do it!! Leave your inhibitions at home. It’s a super intensive boot camp. Be open. Have fun. Don’t analyse it. Just throw yourself into it. It will change you. For the better.

The detailed personal feedback was superb and extremely helpful. I could understand more about my areas of strength and where and how I could improve. I learned just as much by watching this process with others, as I did when trying things for myself. I particularly enjoyed the feeling of being pushed and challenged to try anything and everything. I felt that a creative crucible had been formed very quickly such that any number of things became possible. I never imagined for example that I would be able to write a comedy song.

Exceptionally good value. The best short course I have been on in a very long time.”

https://www.honeyshappening.com/

Jul
1
Mon
2019
CREATING CLOWN MATERIAL @ Celebration Barn, Maine
Jul 1 @ 10:00 am – Jul 6 @ 5:00 pm

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 discount. A 10% discount is also available to individuals registering for more than one workshop or for group registrations from the same immediate family or performing ensemble. See the registration form for details.
NOTE: There are no earlybird, ensemble, or group discounts for retreats.

Arrival: between 3 PM and 6 PM on Monday
Departure: before 10 AM on Sunday

For full details of how to book, please visit the organiser’s website: http://www.celebrationbarn.com/event/spymonkeys-creating-clown-material-2019/

 

Jul
8
Mon
2019
BOUFFON @ Celebration Barn, Maine
Jul 8 @ 10:00 am – Jul 13 @ 5:00 pm

Bouffon: Dare to Mock

with Aitor Basauri

July 8July 13

$725 (5 Days)

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.

Register by May 1st and receive a $50 discount. A 10% discount is also available to individuals registering for more than one workshop or for group registrations from the same immediate family or performing ensemble. See the registration form for details.

NOTE: There are no earlybird, ensemble, or group discounts for retreats.

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)
Jul
27
Sat
2019
NORWAY CLOWN CAMP @ Nesodden Norway
Jul 27 @ 8:00 pm – Aug 2 @ 8:00 pm

Norway Clown Camp returns in 2019!

6 day comedy workshop led by SpyMonkey’s Aitor Basauri and Toby Park!

Set in the beautiful nature on an Island outside of Oslo, this is a workshop to discover freedom in failure and vulnerability on stage. We will develop sensitivity to the audience through games and exercises.

We will learn to follow our own quirky impulses and stop ‘thinking’ too hard. From this we will develop material for the stage.Suitable for actors, standup comedians, improvisers and public speakers. Minumum aged 18+.

Previous participants include multi-award winning comedians and actors, musicians, theatre technicians, an opera singer and a bus-driver! This workshop is for anyone who wants to surprise themselves, and see what they thought they couldn’t do!

Below is the facebook event link, we often put offers out for our followers on social media https://www.facebook.com/events/456041034800622/

Schedule:-

Arrival: Saturday 27th July in the afternoon.

Workshop starts: Evening of Saturday 27th July.

Workshop ends: Evening of Friday 2nd August.

Participants leave on Saturday 3rd August after a night of celebration!

Workshop comprises of 6+ hours of workshops per day.

Price of workshop includes accommodation, food and additional activities.

6 full days of workshops (excluding introduction on Saturday 27th July).

Price of Workshop:- 6900 NOK

 

For more details of how to book, please visit the Norway Clown Camp website

Jan
13
Mon
2020
WORKSHOP: MUSIC IN CLOWN & COMEDY @ Toynbee Studios London
Jan 13 @ 10:30 am – Jan 17 @ 5:30 pm

13th – 17th January 2020 / 10.30am – 5.30pm / Cost £360 (£300 + 20% VAT)

Toynbee Studios, 28 Commercial St, London E1 6AB

Led by Toby Park, jt artistic director & musical director Spymonkey

——-——-——-——-——-——-

To apply please fill out this online booking form.

——-——-——-——-——-——-

Music has always played a huge part of the Spymonkey creative process – we think early on in our writing about what the show might offer in the way of deliciously inappropriate original songs, musical theatre genres that we want to explore, unlikely cover versions of existing songs, speciality variety acts, original music in a range of genres and styles to inspire us to new choreographic heights, sound effects that establish their own theatrical conventions (and then break them hilariously).

Musical performance comes with its own set of recognisable conventions: conventions of genre, of status relationships, of audience expectation, of ‘how things ought to be’. And as comedic performers we are drawn to these structures like kids to a climbing frame – they supply us with the framework on which we can swing, dance, vault, somersault, generally have a ball. We can also fall off them and hurt ourselves: there’s risk and danger there too, which keeps everything exciting.

In this 5 day workshop we will explore how Spymonkey use music to lead us into unique and totally original comedic territory. We will explore Pleasure: the clown’s pleasure of being ridiculous on stage, the generous pleasure of playing with our friends, the pleasure of performing music together, the pleasure of pursuing grand ambitions, of unlikely choices, of aiming high, of making terrible mistakes and failing woefully! The pleasure of making an audience laugh their socks off.

How do you start to build a musical speciality act? How do you create a brilliant dance routine? How do you write a song that will make people piss their pants? How can music unite a disparate group of performers into one vibrantly harmonic unit? (And then have it all fall apart again catastrophically?) Using the principles of clown that will be familiar to students of Spymonkey’s work – vulnerability, generosity, pleasure, optimism, complicity – we will explore all these things and more.

Suitable for professionals and students of performance 18+

YOU DON’T NEED TO BE A MUSICIAN TO DO THIS WORKSHOP! You need only a sense of curiosity about how far you can stretch the limits of your performing, and the willingness to put yourself into difficult situations in order to make other people laugh at you too.

If you have an instrument we’ll ask you to bring it with you. But you won’t need to know how to play it with any degree of proficiency, or to sing, or to have done a Spymonkey workshop before, to stretch your musical and comedic sensibilities in order to create new work unique to you.

The Fabulous Backstrom Brothers, Helsinki 2016 – clown opera directed by Toby Park and Aitor Basauri

We made this a while ago now for our show ‘Bless’, but still one of our favourite bit of music and comedy!

——-——-——-——-——-——-

Toby Park is joint founder, managing artistic director, performer and musical director of the Brighton-based international theatre company Spymonkey. With Spymonkey he created and performed around the world the groundbreaking clown theatre shows STIFF, COOPED, ZUMANITY (with Cirque du Soleil Las Vegas), BLESS, MOBY DICK, OEDIPUSSY, LOVE IN and THE COMPLETE DEATHS.

Physical comedy director for RSC’s MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR, National Theatre’s TARTUFFE, Chichester Festival Theatre’s MACK & MABEL starring Michael Ball; director and co-creator of the Finnish clown opera Fabulous Backstrom Brothers at Kapsakki Theatre Helsinki, and BIG BANG SIEGFRIED for Hagen Symphony Orchestra/Theatre Hagen, Germany. Other directing credits include Emma Edwards and Abigail Dooley’s award-winning ENTER THE DRAGONS, Hijinx’s THE FLOP (Total Theatre Award Nominee), Hijinx’s opening and closing ceremonies for Unity Festival at Wales Millennium Centre, and Spike Theatre’s THE GAMES and SHIP OF FOOLS.

He has taught clown, music and comedy workshops around the world, including the National Theatre Connections programme for directors and youth theatre leaders.

——-——-——-——-——-——-

JESS GILL head of drama, St Mary’s School Hertfordshire
(centre front, pic from Berlin workshop Aug 2018)

“The music and comedy workshop with Spymonkey is absolutely glorious! I can’t recommend it enough. I have been teaching Drama for 12 years and this is the best workshop I have done on both a personal and professional level. You don’t need to have to able to play an instrument, sing or even be funny – just bring a sense of fun and willingness to give it a go, everyone can access it on their own level, we had a mixture of street performers, actors and teachers in our group and everyone loved it. Toby is a master of his craft and teaches with the same sparkle, humour and generosity that you can see on stage. We spent most of the week laughing and made very good friends with the other people on the course. There is no pressure to perform but lots of games, improvisation and opportunities to share, everyone was nudged outside of their comfort zone and achieved far more than they thought they could. Ideal if you have any students who want to try their hand at comedy or devising music, this course will give you the insider tips and tricks to creating something joyful together.

It changed my teaching and it changed my life. It may not change yours – but at least you’ll have a walloping good time!”

——-——-——-——-——-——-

GEMMA ROGERS singer/songwriter, performer, playwright says:

“Imagine being in a class with a group of people wearing luminous tutus, beaver tails and loo paper scarves where you are praised for being an idiot. In fact you revel in those words. Because on some level, It means you have succeeded (temporarily) in the complex art of clowning.

“As a writer, words are my ammunition. Without them and armed only with your face and physicality, it can feel strange – scary even –  but under Toby Park’s magical guidance I began to push through the boundaries. With the use of funny improv exercises, discussions and musical instruments ( not to mention Toby tuning several bottles of water to fit the notes for a song from Carmen ) – a group of us  performed songs and  one man acts to a hell of a lot of laughter. I left the Toynbee studios feeling I’d shed 15 years of my life.

“If you ever get a chance to embark on a Spymonkey clowning workshop- be brave and jump at it – no red noses or big flappy feet required.”

gemandthemilmen.com (still from My Idea of Fun)

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FIONA COFFEY writer/performer, Honey’s Happening

“Do it!! Leave your inhibitions at home. It’s a super intensive boot camp. Be open. Have fun. Don’t analyse it. Just throw yourself into it. It will change you. For the better.

The detailed personal feedback was superb and extremely helpful. I could understand more about my areas of strength and where and how I could improve. I learned just as much by watching this process with others, as I did when trying things for myself. I particularly enjoyed the feeling of being pushed and challenged to try anything and everything. I felt that a creative crucible had been formed very quickly such that any number of things became possible. I never imagined for example that I would be able to write a comedy song.

Exceptionally good value. The best short course I have been on in a very long time.”

https://www.honeyshappening.com/

Feb
19
Wed
2020
National Theatre: ‘Play in A Day’ family workshop @ National Theatre, London
Feb 19 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
National Theatre: 'Play in A Day' family workshop @ National Theatre, London

Celebrate the silly with Spymonkey and create a play in a day. Explore what it means to tell a story and how to bring an unexpected comedic twist to familiar tales. You’ll create songs, devise battles, and maybe even a happy ending. There will definitely be lots of laughs when you present your plays to each other, complete with fantastical props and costumes made by you and your family.

Spymonkey are a physical comedy company who have been making sublimely hilarious and deeply ridiculous theatre since 1998.

This workshop is for children aged 7–12. Sorry, we can’t admit children under the age of seven. All children must be accompanied by an adult and all adults accompanied by a child. Each adult may only be responsible for a maximum of three children.

Please note you must buy a ticket for all children and adults attending the workshop.

Adults £12, children £8

https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/family-workshop-play-day-spymonkey-spring-2020

Feb
20
Thu
2020
NT Teachers’ Conference – physical comedy sessions with Spymonkey @ National Theatre, London
Feb 20 @ 1:45 pm – Feb 21 @ 3:45 pm
NT Teachers' Conference - physical comedy sessions with Spymonkey @ National Theatre, London

1.45pm, 20 & 21 February

Toby Park, jt artistic director of Spymonkey, is leading these 2-hour sessions for the National Theatre’s Teachers’ Conference, looking at key physical comedy concepts for drama teachers and youth group leaders.

More information on the NT website here: https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/learning/schools/secondary-and-fe/teachers

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

***THE MARCH 2020 SCHOOL IS FULL, WAITING LIST ONLY***
***We do normally have some last-minute cancellations however, so if you would like to be considered, do register on the waiting list.***

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)

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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