Nose to Nose

discover the clown within


Founded by Vivian Gladwell in 1990, Nose to Nose is a team of people with diverse experiences in the fields of theatre, community building, teaching, storytelling, play therapy, counselling, Special Needs and organisational consultancy. Our influence and training ranges from The Bataclown (France) and the Sacred Art of Clowning to Jonathan Kay’s Theatre of Now and the Roy Hart Theatre. 

Core Values

We are all trained and accredited facilitators with Nose to Nose. This means that as part of the team we are committed to inform our practice of teaching clowning through a team process of supervision, peer review and co-facilitation.

Through our willingness to explore positively issues of communication and collaboration within our team, we believe we practise the central message of the work we teach – an approach and philosophy that sees clowning as a social playground for exploring our humanity.

This collective intelligence (as opposed to an individual one) contributes to the creative diversity and quality of our work.

Our approach

As facilitators, we believe we stay true to the spirit of clowning when we flow with the creative process of each person, when we nurture its emotional expression and the emergence of the imagination and when we facilitate and free actors to find their own clown, unique and grounded in their relationship to the audience.

It is our belief that by focusing on the individual we are, in fact, going straight to the heart of clowning which is the search for authenticity both in the social or personal dimensions of our lives.

The approach to clowning we have developed over the years has important echoes both in the fields of personal growth with our Clown Within workshops -  and in the fields of social mediation with our Court Jester Group. In our workshops we have people from a wide range of professional and social backgrounds, of all ages, with or without previous experience of the theatre.

Many continue working with us because they find the freedom and playfulness of the work becomes vital for them.

What happens in a workshop

We work in a group of no more than 12 people. We start warming up with games, vocal and physical exercises. We then proceed with improvisations on a stage (alone or with others). Each improvisation is discussed to identify and bring out the positive and important aspects of our clown (and how it lives in us).

This is done with care and respect for each individual and within a framework of rules that ensures a secure and protective environment.

The Clown Within

The clown’s nose, the smallest mask in the world, is the mask that unmasks. Through the clown we can rediscover inner qualities of openness, spontaneity and play. The clown allows our imagination to soar, whilst keeping our feet firmly on the ground. Working with warm-ups, games and on the empty stage, we will find our inner clowns through improvisation, play and welcoming everything that emerges.


FOUNDER OF NOSE TO NOSE (1990) - Vivian Gladwell

imagesVivian20new20Vivian is the founder and director of Nose to Nose and has given hundreds of workshops around the world. He lives both in the UK and France where he started clowning in 1978. He speaks French and English fluently.
Vivian began teaching in 1988 as part of the Lifeways Festival at Emerson College – UK. He trained as a facilitator with theBataclown in 1990 and joined their team in 1991 also working as a modern day Court Jester. 
He created Nose to Nose UK in 1990, Nose to Nose of North America in 2006 and Fool View, the Social Clowning group and has trained facilitators in the UK, the USA, Germany and Italy – view history.
He continues his role as ambassador for the work by researching the applications of clowning in the context of teacher training, medicine, conflict management, ecology and intercultural work in many countries (South Africa, USA, Senegal, Vietnam, India, Malaysia, Italy, Germany, Norway…)

He holds clowning as a social playground for exploring our humanity.

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