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Company History

Four Clowns is a Los Angeles-based, nationally and internationally touring clown troupe, dedicated to entertaining audiences and shining light on humanity. Four Clowns implements physical theatre, text, music, dance, and the shattering of the fourth wall in all of their productions. Four Clowns is constantly redefining the audience’s relationship to the performers on stage.

Four Clowns multiple-award-winning, critically acclaimed productions have played in Sao Paulo, Brazil; New York City (La MaMa & Theatre Row, Off-Broadway); Chicago (Neo-Futurists); Las Vegas; San Francisco; Minneapolis; Indianapolis; Phoenix; Kingsland, GA; Telluride, CO; and all over Southern California, including South Coast Repertory and REDCAT.

Four Clowns is a Los Angeles-based, nationally and internationally touring clown troupe, dedicated to entertaining audiences and shining light on humanity. Four Clowns implements physical theatre, text, music, dance, and the shattering of the fourth wall in all of their productions. Four Clowns is constantly redefining the audience’s relationship to the performers on stage.

Four Clowns formed early in 2010 with the goal of exploring physical theatre and clowning techniques. Their first show, aptly titled Four Clowns, was developed by director Jeremy Aluma with the company, and produced at the inaugural Hollywood Fringe Festival. Four Clowns won Best in Physical Theatre and Dance and was nominated for Best World Premiere, as well as the Bitter Lemons Award for Most Outrageous Theatre at the festival that year.

After the initial production, the troupe brought the show to several venues in Southern California: Sacred Fools, the Long Beach Playhouse, and Alive Theatre at the Farm. In the summer of 2011, Four Clowns continued to tour cross-country, to the Neofuturists Theatre and Chopin Theatre (Chicago, IL), Insurgo Theatre Movement (Las Vegas), San Francisco Fringe Festival, Minnesota Fringe Festival, Space 55 (Phoenix, AZ), and Indy Fringe Theatre (Indianapolis, IN). During the 6 week tour, the show garnered awards and accolades including Best of the Fringe at the San Francisco Fringe and an Encore Performance Invitation at the Minnesota Fringe (given to the company who sells the most tickets at their venue). After returning to LA, Four Clowns performed again at Sacred Fools, and then in February 2012 at the prestigious venue South Coast Repertory, thus securing an Ovation Recommendation. In the Spring of 2014, the company toured Four Clowns to La MaMa in New York, selling out its performances and beginning the long-term project of creating a base of support on the East Coast.

While garnering success with this original show, Four Clowns also created Four Clowns: Romeo and Juliet, which premiered in June 2011 at the 2nd Annual Hollywood Fringe Festival. Four Clowns: R&J swept the awards, beating close to 200 other shows for the Fringe’s highest honor, Top of the Fringe, as well as winning Best World Premiere and Best in Physical Theatre and Dance for the second year in a row.

With continued confidence, Four Clowns expanded their administrative staff and began a collaboration with influential clown teacher David Bridel, creating a partnership under the Four Clowns name. Lunatics & Actors was an exploration of what it means to be an actor, shown through a demonstration of Duchenne de Boulogne’s experiments on three of his patients from a lunatic asylum in Paris. The second collaboration with Bridel, Sublimity, featuring Bridel as the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, premiered in Los Angeles, received an invitation to perform at the International Drama Festival at the Stanislavsky Institute in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where it was widely acclaimed, and returned to the USA in the Fall of 2013 with further engagements in LA and a slot in the United Solo Festival in New York City, where it won the Best Satire Award at the Festival. Most recently, Sublimity was featured at the 2015 Summer Arts Festival in Monterey, CA. Sublimity also won a prestigious ARC Grant Award from LA's Center for Cultural Initiatives, and is published by Original Works Press.

In June 2012, at the 3rd Annual Hollywood Fringe Festival, Four Clowns presented That Beautiful Laugh, an exploration of laughter as seen through the eyes of child-like clowns. It was the company’s first show for children and families, and it won the Best in Physical Theatre and Dance award (for the 3rd year in a row), in addition to garnering Backstage’s Critic’s Pick and Flavorpill’s Editor’s Pick. This show marked a new chapter in the history of Four Clowns, realizing the troupe’s potential to create shows for children and families.

Then, in November 2012, Four Clowns continued their collaboration with one of Southern California’s largest and best-known theatres, South Coast Repertory, producing Robin Hood - filled with the company’s signature style of clowning, dance, music, and text - for the Theatre for Young Audiences series. The company brought two new musician-clowns on board who scored the show and played a plethora of live instruments. Staff and audiences alike commented that in the 40 year history of SCR, they had never seen a more interactive show.

In early 2013, Four Clowns continued to refine its “workshop” module, producing company member Mike Funt’s The Day They Hung The Elephant at the influential Son of Semele theatre in Silverlake in a limited run, enabling the show’s creators to examine their material through the lens of public showings without the pressure of a full run. Elephant has since played further dates in Georgia and continues to tour.

Four Clowns returned to the 2013 Hollywood Fringe with their sold-out smash hit Me Rich You Learn, written and performed by company members Zach Steel and Adam Carpenter, and directed by Turner Munch. The production won Best World Premiere, Best in Physical Theatre (for the 4th year in a row), and Best Set and Props Design, and was subsequently presented to great acclaim at the Telluride Festival in Colorado. Steel and Carpenter followed Me Rich with part of the premiere of their latest collaboration, Henry's Potato, directed by Jeremy Aluma, presented by Four Clowns at the REDCAT Winter Studio Series in December 2013.

In 2014, Four Clowns took its original show Four Clowns to La MaMa in New York, where it played to sold-out houses: "a sublimely ridiculous and moving show" wrote one critic in The Easy. The company also won the highly competitive residency at the Annenberg Beach House, administrated by the City of Santa Monica's Cultural Affairs Division, and in July presented two plays at the Beach House in repertory, Noah and Jonah. The launch of this double-bill represented the first stage in an epic cycle of clown plays inspired by stories from the Old Testament.

In the Fall, Four Clowns joined forces with CSULB's undergraduate department, as ten members of the company trained a group of twelve students from CSULB in clown, mask, and movement. The resulting production, Ubu The Sh*t, was a modern re-telling of the classic play performed in the round, gladiator-style, complete with multiple moments of audience interaction and audience participation. The show also had a social media presence as actors took suggestions from the audience via Twitter before the curtain went up. Ubu was voted 100% Sweet on Bitter Lemons and Neon Tommy wrote: "Dancing, singing, acrobatics, and fight choreography were executed flawlessly by the impressively versatile performers."

The next stage of Four Clowns' ambitious Old Testament project took place in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in April 2015; awarded a significant grant from the Department of Cultural Affairs of the City of Los Angeles, the company took up residency at the Latin American Film Institute, a Brazilian organization that has previously supported the work of Associate Director David Bridel. Combining the talents of company members with professional actors from Brazil, Four Clowns created Abraham & Isaac, produced at the MuBe Cultural Theatre in Sao Paulo.

The company's future projects include Clown Hamlet and a co-production of a world premiere show with The Newnan Theatre Company in Newnan, Georgia.In the summer of 2015, Four Clowns created and presented the original creation The Halfwits' Last Hurrah at the 2015 Hollywood Fringe Festival. Halfwits won 3 awards - Best in Physical Theatre and Dance (for their 5th year running), the Octavio Carlin Award for Excellence in Costume Design, and company member Elizabeth Nimrod won the O Face Award for Most Orgasmic Performance. 14 positive press reviews garnered a 100% SWEET rating on Bitter Lemons, including “the future of clowning in America” (Creepy LA); “Too damn funny!” (Broadway World).

Four Clowns continues to draw audiences wherever they perform, touring, developing and presenting several of the shows mentioned above, while creating new plays, and teaching clowning and physical theatre workshops.

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