It has always been a mission of the Doctors of Joy to take the clown’s art to diverse audiences. Thus, we perform at hospitals, on stages, and at cultural centers. This soon led to the idea of transforming our organization into a school, to train new clowns in the noble mission of bringing joy to the world.
This dream became a reality in 2004, when the Clown Educational Program for Youth was created to validate the socio-cultural mobilizing potential of the clown’s language inside and outside hospitals, and to favor the inclusion of a public unable to afford such a specific educational program: youngsters from low-income communities.
A selection process is launched at two-year intervals for 17 to 23-year-olds whose monthly family income does not exceed three minimum salaries. The selected candidates receive an assistantship that covers transportation and school lunch.
The program has a unique methodology and lasts for three years – the first two years involve daily classes and the third year involves supervised projects and occasional meetings. Students are exposed to a variety of artistic expressions and build the basis from which to properly explore the clown’s mask, which gradually takes on substance, character, and personality. It is intense work involving much studying, creating and re-creating. At the end of the program, the youths participate in creating, developing, and producing a stage production that will be shown in their own neighborhoods, as well as in other theaters and cultural centers around São Paulo.