Clown Masterclass with Aitor Basauri

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Clown Masterclass with Aitor Basauri


Clown Masterclass with Aitor Basauri

Monday April 15th - Friday April 19th
10am - 5pm each day

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What is the Clown Masterclass?

In the Spymonkey clown masterclass, you will learn to discover what makes you funny, hone your skills and practice making an audience belly laugh! Through clear and specific instruction, Aitor will support you to develop and hone your comedic skills in a safe and fun environment. This positive group dynamic will allow you focus on following your impulse, being adventurous and taking risks. You will learn how to shine as an individual and improve on every spontaneous opportunity. In this highly enjoyable workshop you will play games, do exercises developing trust and complicity with the group. In this atmosphere of discovery and revelation, you will be developing and showing new material. Be prepared to find the pleasure in your own ridiculousness, stay optimistic, discover your comedy gold, and get ready to laugh until your face hurts.

Technically there are many other engines to make people laugh: status games, parody and improvisation. In Spymonkey’s workshops we will touch on all of them, creating an enjoyable and revealing atmosphere to discover the unique way in which you’re funny.

You will learn how to begin to trust your instinctive and spontaneous self. We will teach you technically how to make people laugh through status play-offs, parody, improvisation and many more games and exercises. All the sessions will be about creating a fresh, trusting and highly enjoyable workshop in an atmosphere of revelation to discover you’re funny..


  • professional actors and performers

  • drama schools

  • undergraduate and graduate level performing arts

  • INSET/teacher training

  • professional theatre companies

  • A-level students

  • special needs and mixed ability groups

Aitor talks about clown

“I do theatre because it is fun because it makes me live life twice and I love life! The clown lives in a fantastic theatrical world. For an actor the clown stimulates a fresh immediacy full of pleasure and mischief. It is this brimming pleasure that fills the performer and touches an audience. The audience in turn feel they are watching something very special and unique because the clown is generous, sharing with them their most intimate vulnerability, fun and unique personality.

“The performer who dares to stand before a crowd, unafraid to make mistakes and find pleasure in being wonderfully silly will reap fruitful rewards. In Spymonkey we strongly believe that it is in this moment that the seed for the best performances can begin. Once up there in front of the audience, that pleasure will take you from one funny mistake to the next, always happy, always optimistic o be playing in front of the audience. By being joyful, playful, curious, mischievous and full of fantasy you will find funny opportunities. ”


Jane Nichols / professor, Yale School of Drama  “Aitor has boundless energy. He loves what he teaches and he loves to teach. Aitor’s easy, even temperament is as genuine and reassuring as it is compelling and empowering. His enthusiasm for what he does is evident and contagious. He approaches his students as he approaches the material … with humor, with clarity and authority, with knowledge, and with profound respect. Just as he and the other members of the remarkable Spymonkey approach weighty, sometimes perverse or tragic material with humor and a touch of grace, so to, as Aitor approaches a student’s despair or resistance or personal tragedy he applies the same humor and grace. That his professional work aligns dignity with absurdity is testimony to his genius as an artist. That he, as an artist, is dedicated to eliciting that same sensibility from his students is testimony to his depth as a humanist, - and to his commitment to education.”

Liam Woodman / TV writer (NOT GOING OUT, LA LA LAND)  “It was fantastically liberating. The workshop is about being yourself and tapping into what is uniquely funny about you. At first it was pretty intimidating to stand in front of the group with out acting-up or spouting rehearsed funnies, but in time with encouragement, help and expert guidance from wonderful tutor Aitor Basauri it becomes a joy to lose yourself in the moment and improvise. Aitor has a wealth of experience as performer and teacher and was an incisive tutor. The advice he gave each of us students was unique to us, reinforcing the idea that the workshop was about your own private funniness. The group were perhaps the warmest and most generously supportive bunch I have ever had the privilage to work with and that undoubtedly added to the security I felt. Failing or ‘flopping’ became as much fun as getting a laugh, nearly.”

Amy Saunders / Miss Behave - performer (Variety Nighty, La Clique, La Soirée)  "Best workshop I've ever done. safe but playing with risk. light but deep, and FUN! so much fun!"

Mark Winstanley / drama tutor at University of Salford, Clown Lab  "I think that Aitor explained the games and exercises just enough for us to understand but he held back from over explaining if we were a little unsure. As a teacher I know that this is a really delicate balance to strike, explain too much and students play to the end they think you want. Explain too little and they can be totally lost. Everyone had at least one “Golden Moment” on the course. A moment that they will remember for a long time"

Garth Cutter, Manchester - Cutteruption blog "To say I was nervous on the way to the first session is an understatement. I thought I’d be a fish out of water, a moron, not knowing my stage left from my stage right. As it turned out, it didn’t need to; in fact, needing to but not knowing would probably have been clown comedy gold. Everyone triumphed and flopped at one point or another, even the experienced people, so it didn’t matter that I was new to it... I guess the final question from anyone interested would be: ‘have the workshops been useful’? Yes, definitely: only recently the techniques I learned turned an awkward situation into one of the most enjoyable moments of my relatively short performance career."

Kalki Henenberg / 'Kalki Hula Girl', performer Australia “I had never done a clown workshop before participating in Spymonkey's Clown Masterclass. I was terrified before even arriving on the first day - partly because i knew i would be working with mostly professional actors and street performers, and, while i am a performer, my work is essentially visual-sensation/short spots in variety shows. Plus, I hold Spymonkey's work in the highest regard and i didn't want Aitor to know how un-funny i really am. I was quite nervous the entire time, and shy, so i possibly didn't take nearly as many risks as would have benefitted me. But i listened very hard, and a lot did go in, despite being, as Aitor said, Very Estupid. I learned SO MUCH. Aitor has an incredible facility for explaining a point both verbally, and experientially with the use of games and exercises. It was hard work, and it was satisfying, despite day after day flopping left right and center. (And never once managing to master Mister Hit. Not once. Yeesh).

I do believe my own work has benefitted greatly from the workshop and as the information absorbed so intensively has time to resonate from my brain into my body, i think will continue to improve. I would do another one at the drop of a hat."

Peter Daniel Strauss, performer, New York “This was workshop number two for me, and I can’t wait for number three! I’ve been moving into some new, exciting clowning territory in my work as a direct result of working with Spymonkey and I’m having so much fun!”

Andrea Foa journalist, Italy “What an amazing week! Huge, huge thank you to Aitor, Petra and each and everyone of you who took part in the workshop for being so supportive with a non-performer, you made me feel at home from the very beginning, which allowed me to take risks and have fun. Go Spymonkey!”

Herma Vos dancer & chanteuse, Holland ”One week of fun, incredible laughs and such a good time!! Sharing all this with a groupe of adorable people....I JUST LOVED IT.....!!”

Vera Chok actress, Malaysia/London “Belly-laughter, support, ideas, and real friendships. Definitely returning for future sessions. Highly recommended for those new to clowning, as well as for old hands.”

Aitor Basauri

AITOR BASAURI, Spymonkey’s Joint Artistic Director, is one of the most sought after and leading teachers of clown and physical comedy in the world. He regularly runs Spymonkey masterclasses in London, Brighton and New York, is a staff tutor at Cirque du Soleil Las Vegas, and teaches at Ecole Phillipe Gaulier.

Aitor studied at the Centro Andaluz de Teatro in Seville and at the Philippe Gaulier School in London. He performed in The Servant of Two Masters at Sheffield Crucible (1996), Axomate at the Seville Expo (1992), Eulenspiegel (1991) and in Karl’s Kuhne Gassenchau’s Grand Paradis and Stau in Zurich (1997 and 1998). He directed Little Prince for Donkey Productions (1997), Un Vento Impetuoso for La Canoppia (1996) and Meci Y Me Fui for Pez Enraya ( 1997). In 1999 he appeared in Circus Knie, the Swiss State Circus, and in 2000 formed his own company Punto Fijo, based in Bilbao. He also appeared in Cirque Images’ 2003 series Solstrom for Bravo Cable Network, performed in Zumanity – Another Side of Cirque du Soleil at the New York New York Hotel Casino, Las Vegas, 2003-05, and in Bertold Brecht’s Senor Carrera’s Rifles at the Young Vic, directed by Paul Hunter (2007).

Spymonkey was founded by Toby Park, Petra Massey and Aitor Basauri in 1997. With their dark, edgy physical comedy rooted ‘somewhere between Monty Python, the Marx Brothers and Samuel Beckett’ (The Houston Chronicle), and a quartet of performers from Spain, Germany and England, Spymonkey have proved to be a truly international phenomenon, enjoyed by and accessible to a wide range of international audiences. They have created six shows to date:

Stiff (1998), a black comedy about undertakers, Total Theatre Award Winner, British Council Showcase of the best of British theatre in 2001, toured to Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Finland, Spain, France, USA, Canada, Mexico, Syria, Ireland, Romania, Czech Republic and Sweden.
Cooped (2001, mid-scale version 2005), a gothic romance directed by Cal McCrystal, international tours to Sydney Opera House, Just For Laughs Montreal, Toronto World Stages, Melbourne Comedy Festival, Brighton Festival, Edinburgh Festival.
Zumanity – Another Side of Cirque du Soleil (2003-05) resident show at New York New York Hotel Casino, Las Vegas. Spymonkey created the comedy content for this adult burlesque show, seen by half a million people.
Bless (2007), about the lives of the saints directed by Cal McCrystal, nominated for 3 Betty Mitchell Awards.
Spymonkey’s Moby Dick (2009) directed by Jos Houben & Rob Thirtle, which firmly established them as a mid-scale company, including a run at the Lyric Hammersmith, and toured internationally to Finland, Holland & Belgium.
Love In (2011) a self-help cabaret directed by Chris Green, winner Best Comedy Brighton Festival 2011, Udderbelly Southbank.
Oedipussy (2012) A gloriously anarchic physical comedy combines with the playful storytelling verve of Kneehigh’s Emma Rice and Carl Grose to create an outrageous no-holds-barred subversion of the quintessential Greek tragedy – a tale of forbidden lust, violent murder and the ultimate dysfunctional family.

Visit the Spymonkey website

Cancellation Policy

If, with at least one week's notice, you need to cancel your registration for any reason, please note that Sweet Action Theatre Company will retain $100 of your original purchase as a non-refundable deposit. Cancellations made less than one week before the first day of the intensive will not be refunded.


Sweet Action Theatre
180 Shaw St, Unit 106
Toronto, Ontario
M6J 2W5