Ow that Hurts! Clown and Tumbling Training with Johnny Hutch

Cuming, Richard (2017) Ow that Hurts! Clown and Tumbling Training with Johnny Hutch. Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, 8 (2). pp. 156-170. ISSN 1944-3927

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Abstract

This article analyses the experience of receiving training in clown and tumbling routines from veteran variety artist and acrobat Johnny Hutch, whose career began in 1927 when he was apprenticed to a troupe of Moroccan acrobats at the age of fourteen. During breaks Johnny would tell stories about his lengthy career in circus and variety, passing on an oral history as well as an ethics of popular performance. The article considers how he combined training in specific routines and comedy techniques with a collaborative way of working with the companies he trained. As a comparison the article briefly sketches the more conceptual and arguably dominant form of clown training currently – that of ‘finding one’s own clown’ as exemplified in the pedagogy of Jacques Lecoq and Philippe Gaulier. An auto-ethnographic method is adopted, employing both an ‘academic’ mode of writing and an anecdotal/performative mode, drawing on Norman Denzin’s notion of ‘… the storytelling self…’ from Interpretive Ethnography (1997), to convey both subjective experience and an analysis of that experience. I include material from interviews with Martin Burton, founder member of Zippo and Company, as well as Mark Long and Emil Wolk of People Show, whom Johnny was also training in the 1980s. The article also draws on a wide ranging conversation about Johnny with his son Brian Hutchison, as well as film of a general workshop Johnny ran in 1994 at the London International Workshop Festival.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: acrobatics clowning skills Variety Johnny Hutch
Subjects: W Creative arts & design > W441 Theatre & professional practice
W Creative arts & design > W470 Performance & live arts
W Creative arts & design > W472 Circus arts
Departments: Faculty of Arts > Department of Performing Arts
Depositing User: Richard Cuming
Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2017 15:08
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2017 15:08
URI: http://repository.winchester.ac.uk/id/eprint/741

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