Students, community get chance to clown around

Sept. 17, 2014

By Ryan Marshick


Residents of Whitewater can learn how to be a clown by painting faces, making balloon animals and riding a unicycle in a new workshop.

This “Be A Clown” workshop is open to people of all ages and no experience is required to participate.  It is free of charge, but students need to supply their own wig, makeup and costume after a few classes.

Elaine Frietsch, one of the founders and directors of this workshop, says the workshop “is a way of showing that anyone can be a clown if they want to step out and make others laugh.”

“I believe that the art of clowning has been slipping away in our current society and by offering these classes we have seen a nice acceptance of the group,” Frietsch said.

This is not the first time this workshop was at Whitewater, the most recent session being in January.

This workshop is run through the help of the Funny Face Place Clown Group, which is a clown group that started in 1975.

Various clowns from this group will help teach different skills in the art of clowning, including doing makeup, juggling and skits. These clowns also help students decide what type of clown they want to be, and students can choose what they want their costume and makeup to look like.

Frietsch also teaches clown ministry and takes rookie clowns to visit nursing homes, as well as places, such as the Hearthstone Home, which is a facility for people with memory problems along with other conditions.

Sometimes Frietsch encounters students who feel like they cannot become clowns because they don’t have talent.

“We start that conversation in the first class and talk about how to deal with being afraid of not being funny or entertaining,” Frietsch said.  “First of all we let everyone know that we all have what is called an ‘inner clown.’”

After the last class of the workshop, the clowns will also get the opportunity to walk in the Downtown Whitewater Christmas Parade.

Once they are unrecognizable with their makeup and costume on, it becomes easy for them to act silly and do skits in front of people.

There is also a special program for people who have never had good experiences with clowns.  This program helps show people that clowns are real people by showing them putting their makeup and costumes on then letting the students get involved with magic and balloons.

Friestch says that this program has been successful, especially in helping pre-school children and older people.

“Be A Clown” workshop classes will be held at First United Methodist Church in Whitewater beginning at 2 p.m. on Sept. 20 and will continue through mid-October.