During the isolation because of the pandemic, there were 30 minutes every Tuesday that pierced the darkness and brought me back some light. I was able to lighten the weight that I felt over my chest since March, when I was “displaced” from my life. I learned to play and find the fun even in the use of a mask and disgust of the virus.
–Carlos d’BufFo Dædalus, Mexico City
Clowns Without Borders creates moments of connection for people experiencing crisis. Until the pandemic, that had always meant in-person, international tours. CWB – USA never considered online programming before COVID-19, but the pandemic forced us to push the boundaries of what we thought was possible.
As a result, we developed a range of programs including mindfulness workshops utilizing clowning, panel discussions with leading clown artists, and DIY clown activities for everyone.
We’re developing ways to connect with audiences that lack internet access, preserve and adapt our existing tour commitments, provide opportunities for people to get offline when they want to, and use clown skills to address systemic racism and deal with conflict. Now, for the first time ever, our online programming is available to donors, artists, social media supporters and the general public, in acknowledgement that we’re all experiencing crisis.
In March, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global pandemic due to the rapid spread of the highly contagious virus COVID-19. A few hours later, Clowns Without Borders cancelled its tour to Colombia. The global pandemic of COVID-19 radically shifted how CWB – USA works, but has not shifted our mission to promote resilience through laughter. We launched extensive online programming in April, as a response to our new global reality.
The pandemic has impacted huge numbers of the world’s population, however it has not impacted everyone equally. It highlights the inequity of marginalized people, especially those oppressed and/or exploited along lines of race, class, internet access, and ability. While online programming makes some workshops more accessible, it also excludes huge groups of people who have limited or no access to data or internet.