“When I clown in the hospital or on the streets, I’m always listening for the game—the gateway to making a vibrant connection with each human. I offer myself as an object of play and look to them to see what brings a spark to their eye, a change in their breath, or a giggle.”
-Hannah Gaff, performing artist
Clowns Without Borders returned to Lebanon in October, 2018, led by Sabine Choucair. Our team included Hannah Gaff, who toured to Lebanon with CWB in 2017, and Brendon Gawel. Brendon joined CWB – USA on a 2014 tour to the Philippines after Hurricane Hyian struck in 2013, and on a 2007 tour to Haiti.
For this tour, CWB – USA partnered with Clown Me In, our Lebanese clown colleagues, and traveled throughout Lebanon.
“What did I know about refugee camps before I came here? Only what I saw on TV: sprawling UN tents in rural, dusty settings. But our first show is in a camp in the middle of Beirut.”
-Brendon Gawel, performing artist
Over 1.1 million Syrian refugees are registered in Lebanon. Not only does Lebanon host more Syrian refugees than any other country, it also hosts over tens of thousands of crisis émigrés from other countries, including Iraq, Sudan, Ethiopia, and neighboring Palestine. As a result, there are profound economic and social implications for both host and displaced populations throughout the country.
Clown Me In is a theatre company founded by Sabine Choucair of Lebanon, and Gabriela Munoz of Mexico. Through interactive workshops and performances, the company uses clowning to spread laughter and provide relief to disadvantaged communities, while exploring human vulnerabilities and helping individuals to accept them. Clown Me In has worked around the world, in Mexican, Lebanese, Palestinian, Indian, Brazilian, Moroccan, Jordanian, Syrian, Greek and British communities.
Both Sabine and Gabriela have performed with CWB – USA on multiple tours. CWB – USA was delighted to partner with Clown Me In for this tour, as part of the organization’s “We Must Clown” project. Each year, We Must Clown brings together 12 non-professional clowns (of Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese origin) from disadvantaged communities within Lebanon. These artists receive professional clown training and devise a nation-wide touring performance. They also produce five, 30-second videos to share online. In their performances and videos, the artists of We Must Clown address their most pressing social issues and concerns, shedding light on the reality of marginalized communities within Lebanon.
CWB – USA follows United Nations naming conventions for all countries, nations, and territories, along with the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To read more about our Code of Ethics, click here.