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Profile: Fiona Colliss

Fiona Colliss is a clown. She performs with her own company, The Clown Conspiracy, and works with Hearts&Minds as clown doctor Dr Spritely, and as Toots Elderflower (working with elderly people with dementia).  Her one-woman clown show EGG will be performed in Mull this summer then will tour the Highlands and Islands with Mull Theatre.

Biography

Having graduating in Theatre Studies and Music, Fiona initially worked in press and marketing at Perth Theatre. Whilst working in America however, she met someone 'fairly obsessed' with Cirque du Soleil.  Having never before seen a clown other than the British traditional circus type with ‘big pants and scary make-up’, it fascinated her. And the life of a clown began.

EGG; Photo: Douglas Robertson

At a clown and circus school in Australia, Fiona spent eight months immersing herself in clown, trapeze, acrobatics, street clown and circus. It was in Sydney that Fiona first met a clown doctor, and it became clear that that was what she wanted to be.  Having returned to Scotland Fiona began working with Hearts&Minds, which delivers the clown doctor programme to children’s hospitals, wards and hospices throughout Scotland.

Fiona also wanted to take clownign to theatres in an effort to move away from the image of circus clown and bring back the innocent clown to children.

In 2003, she founded The Clown Conspiracy and performed in Cereal Clowns at the Edinburgh Fringe.  In 2004 she toured the science show Dr Bunhead’s Wacky Waterworks for the Edinburgh International Science Festival.

Find out more about the work of the Clowndoctors and Hearts&Minds in a Clowndoctors feature.

EGG

EGG was devised by Fiona and follows the adventures of the alien clown Red as she travels in a spaceship to Earth.

In December 2004, EGG was hatched.  While Fiona was teaching circus for Mull Theatre earlier that year, a love of clowns and a lot of faith led Alisdair McCrone, Artistic Director at Mull Theatre, to back Fiona’s one-woman clown show for children. 

Successful on Mull, and supported by the National Lottery through the Scottish Arts Council, EGG has been redeveloped with a director for the 2006 summer season at Mull Theatre, which will be followed by a five week Highlands and Islands tour, with a showing at WYSIWYG in September.

EGG; Photo: Douglas Robertson

Why Clown?

Fiona's definition of a clown ‘begins with this: confident, creative, competitive, courageous, curious, commercial and committed'. 

She continues, 'yet the clown is one of the hardest things to describe. The clown that I love, and love to be is one that is innocent and naïve; that is emotional and empathetic; that lives in the present but can imagine fantastic adventures; that approaches life playfully; that acts from the heart'.

'Charlie Chaplin is my greatest influence. His innocence, his ability to follow his heart regardless of consequences and his willingness to see play in every situation'. 

'When I began devising EGG I began with a fundamental point of clowning for me – the ability to play; where every second and the slightest event or emotion can evoke fantastic adventures for the clown. Everything is a possibility'.

* Clowning
* Focus on Plutôt la Vie
 
Related links
* Hearts&Minds
* Mull Theatre
* Perth Theatre
* Cirque du Soleil
* Edinburgh Festival Fringe
 
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