A troupe of clowns is set to invade Mumbai this week.
Children’s event management company Mad Hatters is organising a 10-day International Clown Festival, starting November 5.
The fest will feature 10 clowns from the US, Canada, South Africa, Malaysia and India, among other countries, who will conduct a series of events to showcase to the Indian audience global styles of clowning.
“Clowning in India has so far been restricted to the circus genre. But I’ve worked with many schools and hospitals in costume, teaching children about issues like fire safety, health and hygiene through mime and magic,” said Martin D’Souza aka Flubber, a longtime clown with an MBA in marketing, who founded and heads Mad Hatters.
“A clown can be a magician, a juggler, a unicyclist. A clown doesn’t even need to do anything other than interact with children. The difference between clowns in India and abroad basically comes down to this: Clowns are supposed to make people happy, as opposed to just make people laugh.”
During the festival, the clowns will perform shows at the St Andrew’s auditorium in Bandra (West), displaying different forms of mime and juggling and performing magic tricks.
The clowns will also perform at schools and hospitals as part of an outreach programme, and will hold a walkathon and street show for over 800 street children at Shivaji Park on Children’s Day (November 14), in partnership with NGO Childline.
Free clowning workshops will be held on November 9 and 10, at the St Andrews and St Xavier’s colleges.
“The clowns will have costumes, props and make-up for participants to experiment with, and will teach the basics of miming and clown techniques,” said D’Souza. “I think this is the right time to introduce the art of clowning to India. The entertainment industry has grown in the last few years, and people are asking for more forms of alternative entertainment.”