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Lesvos 2016

“Laughter is healing, but it seems the camp officials are not concerned with this. It’s not because they’re cold or heartless. The police in Mytilene are helpful and polite. They like clowns, they appreciate what we do, but the happiness and healing of the hearts of refugees is not their mandate.”

-Tamara Palmer, team logistician

Tour Overview

CWB – USA artists toured to Lesvos, Greece, sharing laughter with refugees and migrants journeying to Europe. CWB artists performed and led workshops inside the refugee camps. The artists focused on drama as therapy, songs, and acrobatic tricks and humor. The performances were suitable for all ages.

This tour was a multinational effort between Lebanon, Sweden, Greece, and the United States. The primary sponsor of this project is Clowns Without Borders – Sweden, who received a large donation from a private donor to be applied towards alleviating the plight of the refugees. CWB – Sweden expanded their capacity to assist more refugees by sponsoring a CWB – USA tour.

Tour Context

Migrants and refugees perilously crossed the Aegean Sea from Turkey, hoping to eventually gain entrance to the European Union. As many as 3,000 refugees per day have flooded Lesvos. CWB Executive Director Molly Levine says, “It’s our honor to be invited back to ease the pain and uncertainty of the refugee journey in some small way.”

This is CWB’s second tour in Greece—our first tour was in mid-October of 2015, during a surge in migrant arrivals. After our first performance in 2015, Stavros Myrogiannis, Director of Karatepe Refugee Camp, said, “This is perfect. This is exactly what we need.”

The Team

The artist team is composed of Lebanese performer Sabine Choucair, and United States-based circus artists Kolleen Kintz and Jan Damm. The troupe is working directly with local Greek contacts and refugee camp managers.

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