Holy Fools UK is an organization of around 60 Christians from all denominations.
The majority perform as holy fools in churches and church events nationwide and they adopt their own clown name.
The aim of Holy Fools is to explore how clowning, miming, puppetry, dance, storytelling and allied arts can be used in ministry and worship and to enable their practitioners to develop their skills.
Some of us do not perform but just take part in the service or communion. Just being there in the church is not only symbolic, but also an act of personal worship.
To some the name “clown” and “holy fool” can be interchangeable, although some members would prefer only the name “holy fool” because the holy fool is not just entertaining, but on a mission to give something special to the world.
1 Corinthians 1:27 “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise”
This is interpreted by the majority of our members in the form of the “Clown”. It may be asked what relevance clowning has to the Christian life, but a clown reflects human nature with all its strengths and weaknesses; the ‘holy fool’ takes this further and performs with faith, hope and love.
Faith – a clown is sexless, ageless and classless. He always has to be open and expose his own vulnerability to the audience. He risks being accepted and applauded or being rejected each time he exposes his painted face and baggy trousers, he is openly showing what he is and not hiding behind a mask of respectability. He cannot help but be the centre of attention. A clown is like a child, innocent, accepting people and things as they are and finding simple joy in all he meets.
Hope – The clown is not just a symbol of joy, but of hope and believes everything is possible. He will try to walk the tightrope like the experts, but will fall off and try again. Sometimes he succeeds, much to the appreciation of the audience. They see in the clown the possibility of succeeding against all odds, which reflects hope in their own lives.
Love – A clown only exists to give to his audience, he is there to serve and wants to give his complete self. He makes no conditions on the audience, there is no demand on them to return the love he gives them.He helps us to want to care about the character he plays; we can laugh and cry with him and sympathise with him as he ‘suffers’ on our behalf. He gives us laughter and sometimes insight into the human condition in which we all have a mutual interest.
The holy fool can do all this but hopefully goes further.
One of the important things that can be shown is how the joy of being a Christian can be shown through clowning. When you are dressed as a clown, you have made yourself vulnerable as a figure of joy, you are seen as being open and approachable. All new holy fools are amazed at how differently they are treated in costume and makeup; everyone is more open to you. Although the holy fool carries a serious message, it must not be forgotten what fun, joy and laughter clowns can bring to a sad world. We can perform anywhere and being a holy fool is a great way to connect with the public.