Idiot Workshop with John Gilkey

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Idiot Workshop with John Gilkey


The Idiot Workshop is an LA based training program for artists of all kinds who seek to discover new creative territory. The Ideology of the Idiot has its roots in contemporary theatrical clown, improv and the trickster archetype.

Tuesday April 30th - Saturday May 4th
10am - 4pm each day

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Tuesday April 30th - Saturday May 4th
10am - 4pm each day

The Intelligent man has become a perfectly normal type. What we need, what offers some interest, what is rare because it has the anomalies of a precious being, the freshness and the freedom of the great anti-men, is THE IDIOT. - Tristan Tzara

The Idiot Workshop is an LA based training program for artists of all kinds who seek to discover new creative territory. The Ideology of the Idiot has its roots in contemporary theatrical clown,  improv and the trickster archetype.

- Why The Idiot? -

The Idiot is fearless and loves to make mistakes.

We ask our students to make bold choices that might otherwise be seen as foolish but, in a nurturing and creative environment, are embraced as the necessary first steps into the unknown where rich discoveries can be made.

- Who Is The Idiot? - 

The Idiot is You

We encourage you to uncover your most playful, ridiculous self - to find your individual Idiot voice and play the the game of you. 

- What Can I Expect? -

The Idiot gives permission to find meaning in nonsense, and that nonsense is often the place where sense begins, and opens the door to an untethered expression.

We create a safe, fun environment full of creative exploration through exercises that are improvisational in nature. We work in groups, pairs and sometimes one on one with an instructor. We are often an audience for each other. And we want nothing more than to make each other laugh. Together we dive into an illogical, absurd place of movement, speech, presence, and play where your creative self is available, visible, and totally at stake.


The foundation of The Idiot begins with the establishment of a relationship with the audience. Without an audience The Idiot does not exist. Performers in The Idiot Workshop learn to be present and playful allowing them to improvise organically without having to follow improv rules or formulas. Range is developed through strong commitment to choice, character, self and partner. Performers are encouraged to play from their unique comedy core and to discover the potential for game in every moment. Performers are introduced to physical performance engaging the entire body. Performers tap into their own sense of the ridiculous in order to riff more freely, taking bigger risks with the audience. Performers are introduced to the the idea of The Idiot as catalyst and Little Shit, gaining insights and acquiring the techniques on how to work a room through stakes, tension and release, energy placement, drive and game.

About John Gilkey

John Gilkey is the Founder and Creative Director of The Idiot Workshop.

He has performed internationally for more than thirty-five years in circus, variety, comedy clubs, theater and television. Beginning in 1987, he spent four years as clown, acrobat and featured juggler with The Pickle Family Circus.  This troupe is widely recognized as a pioneer in the contemporary circus movement.

In 1996, John joined the popular French Canadian troupe, Cirque Du Soleil.  In his first production with Cirque, he created and played the lead character for the show entitled Quidam. His collaboration with Cirque Du Soleil continued to grow with the creation and performance of clown numbers for the shows Dralion, Varekai and Iris.  John also wrote for and appeared in the Cirque Du Soleil television program Solstrum.  With Cirque Du Soleil alone John has performed live for more than four million people.

In 2002 John was invited to Pixar Studios to consult on the physical comedy routines that were eventually included in the Oscar winning film Ratatouille.  John also consulted for Pixar on the character voices in the Pixar short film, La Luna.

Additionally John worked with acclaimed director Franco Dragone to create Le Reve, a water spectacle for the Wynn Hotel and Casino, in Las Vegas. As “Comedy Concepteur,” John was in charge of casting a team of seven clowns and, with them, developing the comic material for the the show.

John continues to create challenging and experimental theater in California, including shows like We Are Nudes which earned a Best of the Fringe award in the 2009 San Francisco Fringe Festival and Wet The Hippo which was nominated for Best Comedy in the 2013 Hollywood Fringe Festival.

John now spends most of his time leading The Idiot Workshop and various Wet The Hippo productions in Los Angeles.

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