Jeremy Aluma, the Founder and Artistic Director of Four Clowns for the past seven seasons is stepping down as Artistic Director. Aluma will be moving to Chicago this summer to pursue his MFA in Directing at DePaul University. Mike Funt, executive board member and company clown will be taking over as Artistic Director starting on Tuesday, June 28, 2016. Aluma will remain in close contact with Funt and Four Clowns as an advisor.
Over the last seven seasons, under Aluma's tenure, Four Clowns built 16 productions that traveled to different countries, states, and cities across the US and around the globe. In addition to over a dozen productions in Los Angeles, shows were brought to São Paulo in Brazil, New York City, Chicago, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Minnesota, Arizona, Georgia, Colorado, Indiana, Monterrey, and Orange County. During that time Four Clowns collected awards from numerous festivals around the country. They mounted full productions at notable theatres such as La MaMa in NYC, The Chopin Theatre in Chicago, andSouth Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, CA and their work has been featured in BuzzFeed, The LA Times and The Huffington Post.
From Jeremy Aluma:
Back when we started in 2010, my intention was never to create a company. I had hoped the show, Four Clowns, would be a standalone. But the outpouring of appreciation for what we were doing made me realize I should continue with this work. After about two years, friends and clowns were asking how they could join the company. There was no company to speak of, but it was clear there should be. And that's essentially how we formed.
My initial intention as a director wasn't to focus exclusively on clown theatre. This is part of the reason I'm going to grad school - so I can tap back into other types of theater that excite me. But I also believe this is the thing that kept Four Clowns going, because it's what is special about us. I believe it's why the audience reacted in such a positive way our first time around.
Our success as a company is in large part due to that specific focus and unique style. My hope is that Four Clowns will continue down this path of clown theater or clown storytelling, producing full-scale productions as we always have.
Whenever someone asked what connected all our shows or what clown was to us, I always stated that there were four tenets that made up our company. First, exploring the relationship between audience and performer was vital. Second, that there would be an abundance of physicality and physical comedy. Third, that the characters would be absurd in their style and attributes. And last, that we would be reflecting something significant about humanity in all our shows. I still believe each of our shows connected to these four points in some way, some more than others, but this was what unified them in my mind.
I've been working with Mike Funt over the last several months for his transition to Artistic Director. He speaks so emphatically about his desire to lead this company, I believe he has the temperament and skill set to do so.
From Mike Funt:
I am so thrilled to be taking this role in Four Clowns, now a formidable brand on the LA Theatre scene. I look forward to continuing the mission of Four Clowns and the reputation it has garnered, as well as expanding into new territory. Having served as a performer, show creator, director, teacher, and executive board member, I am no stranger to the workings of Four Clowns and I have experience leading a theatre company as Artistic Director.
Five years ago, I saw the original Four Clowns show at SacRed Fools, and was so overwhelmed that I immediately reached out to Jeremy Aluma. I just wanted advice on how to work with this company. Since that time, Four Clowns has offered me the chance to meet some of my closest friends, to have some of the most creatively rewarding opportunities, and to push the boundaries of what I think of as the art of theatre. I look forward to leading the company into its next stage of growth and development, and to affording those same opportunities to other clowns and theatre artists.
About Jeremy Aluma - Jeremy Aluma is the Founder and Founding Artistic Director of Four Clowns, and he sits on the Executive Board. He has been a part of the company for all seven seasons. Four Clowns credits: nationally touring Four Clowns (director and conceiver), Abraham and Isaac in Brazil (co-director), Ubu The Sh*t (director), Lunatics and Actors (director), Noah and Jonah at Annenberg Beach Community House (co-director), Pinocchio and Robin Hood at South Coast Repertory (director), Henry's Potato at REDCAT (director), Four Clowns: Romeo and Juliet (director), and Sublimity (co-director). Aluma was also the lead producer on all 16 of Four Clowns' productions. Aluma is an award-winning theatre director and producer who has directed at numerous theatres around the country including; La MaMa and Theatre Row (NYC), South Coast Repertory and Chance Theater (Orange County), Chopin Theatre and Neofuturist Theatre (Chicago), Insurgo Theater Movement (Las Vegas), Exit Theatre (San Francisco), Indy Fringe Theater (Indianapolis), and Space 55 (Phoenix). His favorite LA directing credits include: Pre-Historic Hunt at The Odyssey, Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake) at SacRed Fools, Hamlet at American Coast Theatre Company, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot with Urban Theatre Movement and Company of Angels, and In Arabia We'd All Be Kings with ALive Theatre. He is the recipient of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, Cultural Exchange International Grant, the City of Santa Monica, Annenberg Community Beach House Residency, and the Long Beach Arts CouncilCommunity Project Grant. Since graduating Cum Laude from California State University, Long Beach with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Directing, Aluma has attended prestigious training programs such as, the Master Conservatory program in Bali, Indonesia; Director's Lab West; and The Actor's Center in NYC. He continues to teach and take classes at The Clown School and will be pursuing his MFA in Directing at DePaul University beginning in the fall of 2016.
About Mike Funt - Mike Funt has served for two years on the Executive Board of Four Clowns as the Director of Touring, and has worked with the company for the past five seasons. Four Clowns credits: nationally touring The Day They Hung The Elephant (writer/performer) including as guest artist for the 2014 Georgia Theatre Conference, That Beautiful Laugh (performer), Sublimity (assistant director & stage manager), and Somewhere Like Earth (conceiver/writer). Additionally, Funt works with local LA Clown Troupe, The Innocents, and is a highly-respected and sought after teaching artist who travels the world leading workshops in clown, mask, and circus arts. Other favorite past performances include Jean Lafitte in his original slapstick comedy show, Jackson-Lafitte: A Vaudeville, Capitano in several Commedia dell'Arte shows, Clown 1 in The 39 Steps, and Orgon in Tartuffe. Funt has directed many shows utilizing his personal brand of physical performance including Servant of Two Masters, a stage adaptation of the 1971 film, Cold Turkey, and his own translation and adaptation of Moliere's, The Imaginary Invalid. He is an instructor at The Clown School and has taught physical improv at iO West and iO in Chicago. Clown training includes work with David Bridel at The Clown School, Philippe Gaulier, Aitor Basauri, Stefan Haves and John Gilkey of Cirque du Soleil, Avner the Eccentric, Aziz Gual, and instructors from Ringling Brothers. He formerly taught at the San Francisco Comedy College and served five years as head of the Theatre Department for the Georgia Governor's Honors Program.