Beautiful conversation with Holly Stoppit from Bristol, UK (34’32”) Clown-o-therapy
Holly Stoppit is a facilitator, clowning and fooling teacher, theatre director and dramatherapist, specialising in live, interactive, improvised and devised performance. At the heart of all of Holly’s work is a desire to promote creative discovery and connection through play.
Holly Stoppit was a weird kid from a circus family. She found acceptance through comedy.
Find out a lot more in this podcast about, Play and Risk, Vulnerability as Strength, What is it to be a female clown, connecting online, the importance of silliness, about Holly’s very own Clown-o-Therapy and about how the skills we can learn through clowning can make us more available as humans.
Holly’s fav quote:
Donald Woods Winicott: “It is in playing and only in playing that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality and is only in being creative that the individual discovers the self”.
We unpack this quote a little and go on to talk about lots of other aspects of playfulness and the healing side of clown work.
Play leads to the union of the parts – physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual. Fear prevents play. Play takes the lid off and let’s out “the gremlins”.
On Embodying vulnerability Holly asks, “can you let yourself be seen (in your weirdness and wildness)?”
Embracing and enjoying your natural quirks. WE ARE ALL COMPLETELY MAD!
Start we you are suggests Holly. We’re really good at finding excuses to not play. If you feel shy, find a way to play with your shyness. Tune into body sensations and emotions.
The hardest thing is to let go.
Our sense of humour – diffuses conflict.
Holly0s Playful book recommendations:
Michael Rosen’s “Book of Play!”
Ton Kurstjens “The clown from Heart to heart”
Charles Schafer “Play Therapy with adults”.
How Clowning Can Lead Us Into Connection | Holly Stoppit
“Despite living in an era of hyper connection on the digital front, we’re in the middle of a loneliness epidemic and it’s having disastrous effects on our mental health. Could the answer be to put our smart devices down and learn to connect back to our playful and inquisitive selves, remembering the kind of curiosity and wonder we felt as a child? Holly Stoppit thinks the answer is a big, glorious, fearless YES! Inside every adult lives a unique, curious, playful, sensitive creature called a clown.
Holly Stoppit helps people from all walks of life to access their inner clowns and harvest the crazy wisdom that abounds. Holly grew up in the circus and has travelled the world to learn from many wise clown masters. She has performed in streets, schools, festivals, circus tents and theatres. Holly is now a Bristol-based clown teacher, facilitator, dramatherapist, performance researcher, theatre director, university lecturer, blogger and actual real life clown.
In her TEDx talk, Holly shares her clowning high’s and lows – and how she discovered clowning can bring us into deeper connection with ourselves and each other. 10 years ago, having become increasingly fascinated in the healing potential of the creative process, Holly began retraining as a drama therapist. For her Masters dissertation research, Holly explored the potential therapeutic benefits of clown skills training for adults with mental health issues. Thus “Clown-o-therapy” was born; a group therapy system, which blends clowning, mindfulness and personal reflection”.
Holly’s workshops are designed to be of benefit to both professional performers seeking performance skills training and the brave and curious seeking self-development. Through skillful holding and carefully paced progressions of games and exercises, Holly creates the ideal conditions that allow creativity, play, insight, wonder and discovery to thrive.