Clown Gym started in 2014 as a collaborative member-sourced experiment in play. Over the years it has grown into one of New York City’s most reliable sources for affordable high-quality actor training.
Clown Gym Director, Julia Proctor, leads most of the classes, in addition to welcoming lots of guest teachers from a wide range of backgrounds and pedagogies. Julia’s approach to Clown comes from her years studying with and apprenticing Christopher Bayes at the Pandemonium Studio, as well as her training with Philippe Gaulier in France, and Dody DiSanto and Isabelle Anderson at the Academy for Classical Acting.
Clown Gym continues to build a thriving learning environment and community. There’s a strong ensemble of regular members and always welcomes brand new folks eager to grow and play. The goals of the Tuesday night drop-in classes are to offer new skills, strengthen new and existing muscles, and connect artists in community through experimentation, laughter, and play.
In addition to the beloved Tuesday night classes, Clown Gym offers intensives, produces shows, and hosts a monthly “Clown Jam,” a supportive place to workshop material in process under the guidance of an experienced coach.
Thanks to these amazing artists, our guest teachers over the years:
Aitor Basauri of Spymonkey, Ambrose Martos, Amy G, Audrey Crabtree, Ben Mehl, Billy Schultz and Sarah Peterseil with Dancify That, Carter Gill, Cat Meuller, Chiara Cimmino and Valerio Vittorio Garaffa from Teatro del Disio, Chris Tramantana, Daniel Passer, David Shiner, Devin Shacket, Emmanuelle Delpech of Pig Iron Theatre Company, Gabriel Levey, Geoff Sobell, Hilary Chaplain, Ilyssa Baine, Jarrod Bates, Jean E. Taylor, Jim Calder, Joanie Drago, Joe Galan-Kaiser, Joe Tuttle, John Towson, June Fukumura, Justine Williams, Kate Owens, Keith Nelson of Bindlestiff Cirkus, Lenard Petit, Lindsay Brill, Lucas Caleb Rooney, Madeleine Joyce, Marisa Miranda, Mark Gindick, Mark Jaster and Sabrina Mandell from Happenstance Theatre, Mike Funt, Meredith Gordon, Michael Bauer, Michelle N. Matlock, Omari Soulfinger, Owen Scott, Shannan Calcutt, Ralf Jean-Pierre, Sophie Amieva, Spark, Tracy Einstein, Virginia Scott, Zach Fine, and Zach Zucker.
Special Thanks to Founding Clown Gym Members
Emma Simon, Alex Ristov, Billy Schultz, Devin Shacket, Owen Scott, Erin Roy, Royce Hufford, Megan Stern, Tracy Einstein, Joe Galan-Kaiser, Leslie Roth, and Erin Frisbee.
And an extra special thanks to Chris Bayes.
Julia Proctor, Founder and Director
Julia Proctor is a performer, educator, and community builder. In 2014 she founded Clown Gym as well as “An Unapologetic Mess: a clown show!,” a monthly mess at the People’s Improv Theatre, sharing her own work and mentoring emerging artists. She completed an MFA from Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Academy for Classical Acting, and has studied with some of the most prestigious clown teachers in the world including Philippe Gaulier and Chris Bayes, with whom she completed a pedagogical apprenticeship. Julia is an improvisor, and trained with the People’s Improv Theater’s Improv Program.
Julia was a founding member of the Funny School of Good Acting’s Commedia Company, and is a proud member of Actor’s Equity. She devises and performers her own material, and loves collaborating with other artists on smart, funny, and innovative theatre.
She teaches Physical Acting with a focus on Games and Shakespeare’s Clowns at New York University, Clown at Pace University, and has been a Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre at Middlebury College where she taught Clown, Creative Process, and Acting 1, and taught Clown and Le Jeu at the National Theater Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. She was Beanie Feldstein’s personal Clown Coach for the Broadway revival of Funny Girl.
Julia believes theatre, especially theatrical clown, is a powerful tool to build community through shared visceral experiences.
Photos by Clown Gym member, Michael Wilson.