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Dan Lees - London Clown Festival Interview

London Clown Festival returns with an exciting array of events and workshops celebrating physical comedy and contemporary clowning.

The festival was is co-produced by Dan Lees and Amee Smith with the festival teaming up once more with London’s Soho Theatre for a week long event from 12th until 17th June.

Highlights of the 2023 festival include a performance from Viggo Venn who recently won ITV’s Britains Got Talent.

I spoke with Dan Lees about the festival.

Where did your performing journey begin?
I began performing comedy in a double act called Moonfish Rhumba, we were a surreal musical comedy act who liked to rap about beans.

What led you to want to creating the London Clown Festival?
We felt there was a need for a festival to showcase all the shows influenced by clowning on the fringe festival scene. The assumption in the mainstream is clowns are dying out, but this couldn’t be further from the truth, it is a vibrant scene that is growing and adapting constantly. This year Viggo Venn (whose show is part of the festival) won Britains Got Talent showing there is still very much an appetite for clowns.

The 2023 festival sees you once again teaming up with Soho Theatre where some of the shows will be performed. How valuable has having that partnership been?
It’s the perfect home for us at Soho Theatre and we love being there. They already programme and support many of the contemporary clowns so it’s a great partnership. We like being bale to bring new performers on to their radar. It was great that shows in the 2022 Festival went on to have more performances outside of The London Clown Festival with Soho Theatre too.

How do you go about curating a diverse plan of performances and performers?
It’s a constant work in progress trying to find as many diverse and unique approaches as we can. 

What would be your advice to anyone who was looking to get into clowning?
The first step is to do a clowning workshop and then get out there and start performing, get as much stage time as you can.

What would you want anyone to take away from visiting the festival?
An appreciation of the art form and a stomach ache from laughing so much.

The London Clown Festival runs from Monday 12th until Saturday 17th June. Full details of the line-up and booking information can be found at

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