Clown through Mask (Pochinko Method)

with Sara Tilley

Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, 6-10 pm

September 17 to October 19, 2014

2nd Floor Rehearsal Space (former art gallery space), Arts and Culture Centre, St. John’s

Registration Fee: $600 (60 hours at $10/hour) Sliding scale and/or potential work trade situations available for those with financial barriers. Contact Sara for more details at

Only 10 spots available! Register by email ASAP to reserve your spot:

Participants must be able to attend all sessions.

Kira Sheppard and Kyle Bustin during the Clown through Mask Workshop 2013. Photo by Sara Tilley.

Clown through Mask is intended for all types of people – you do not need to be an actor or performer to participate. All you need is curiosity and the willingness to try something new! The work uses mask-making, painting, writing and a variety of physical exercises to open up hidden creative possibilities, to bring us back to an experience of play, impulse, wonder, a full range of emotions and limitless potential for expression.

This is a journey toward discovering your own inner clown – transitioning from working with a full face mask that you create yourself into wearing the red clown nose. The focus is on personal exploration and adventure, not on performance as an end goal.

This training is not intended to prepare you for the circus. There are no tricks, no juggling and no stilts involved. Rather, we seek to expose human vulnerability, innocence, and expression through the exploration of clown. This work is a powerful tool for any artist, opening up new avenues of exploration which can be pursued in any medium. Participants do not need to be performers – all that is required is the willingness to experiment, to face yourself honestly, and to move beyond your comfort zone.

Sara Tilley trained with Ian Wallace and Sue Morrison in Clown Through Mask (Pochinko) technique. She has created many different clown performances in the past fifteen years, ranging from full theatre productions to burlesque numbers to improvised characters who are occasionally seen in public places. In 2008, she mentored with Ian Wallace to teach Clown through Mask and Neutral Mask. She is the artistic director of She Said Yes!, and uses the Pochinko work as inspiration not just for clown, but for acting, directing, writing and design. Sara has taught clown and Neutral Mask in St. John’s, Vancouver, Dawson City, Winnipeg, Calgary and Happy Valley-Goose Bay.


What previous students have said:

“Sara Tilley’s clown through mask workshop was truly one of the most rewarding experiences I have had. It pushed me to places that were initially uncomfortable, but within the intimate group experience Sara facilitates it is easy to let ones’ guard down and embrace the zany, wacky, weird, and unusual.” -Stephen Quinlan

“The freedom I felt allowed me to do anything and everything! It’s almost like there was a part of me that came to life for the first time.  In my own writing, acting and dancing, these workshops have helped unlock ideas and a creative energy.  On a personal level, I think it’s opened my eyes to the beauty of everything that surrounds me. Sara is a fantastic teacher and guide. Her encouragement and spirit are so welcoming and freeing, she really makes you excited about the work.” -Mark White

“Thank you for generously sharing this work which is so sacred and close to your heart. You created a magical space and a place safe enough to experiment. The clown workshop has changed the way I experience a moment, the way I imagine the shape and texture of world, what my body is and how I inhabit it.” – Bryhanna Greenough

“This work is excellent training for the expression of true voice.” -Ryan Davis

“After the first class I realized that this course would have a profound effect on my life. I felt like parts of me were breaking out of cement; deep cement that encased many emotions that were difficult to access. I was both physically and mentally exhausted. It was the best I felt in ages. This course requires commitment to face uncomfortable emotions and to celebrate good ones. It is a roller coaster of crying and laughing and truly feeling alive. This translated to renewed fresh motivation in my visual art practice and in my life in general. I highly recommend it to everyone in the world.” -Annette Manning


This workshop is presented with the partnership of the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council and the City of St. John’s.