April 2013. Moshe Cohen (CWB founder) traveled to Cali Colombia where he collaborated with the CaliClown group to offer a workshop and create a show to bring to the Siloé neighborhood of Cali, Colombia.
Project Burma 2013. Moshe Cohen (cwb-usa founder) spent over two weeks in Yangon teaching workshops and performing with local theater group Thukhama Khayeethe, March 6-23, 2013. He also conducted two staff trainings with Medecins Du Monde.
CWB USA is thrilled to be partnering with CWB France and Sweden in a three year long initiative in Burma. The three year long project will be focused on bringing the fun and funny into the Children’s Training Schools in Yangon area as well as collaborating with Burmese artists. Clowns Without Borders will work with Thukhuma Khayathe, to create an ongoing program of comic theater workshops in the training schools.
To offer healthy, balanced, joyful learning activities to the children through creative expression and movement from the worlds of clown, mime, circus and theater.
Our Clowns Without Borders collaboration in Japan has just ended. For 3 weeks I, Moshe Cohen (founder) joined Guy Totaro and his efforts as the Tyler Foundation’s Shine On! Smile Ambassador to bring smiles and laughter to the children affected by the Tsunami/Earthquake disaster last March. For the first week, I taught free workshops in Tokyo for performers wishing to join Guy’s efforts in Tohoku. Then, Guy, his assistant Keiko, and I traveled to Ofunato for ten days to do shows and workshops in elementary schools and childcare centers in the region. During our 9 working days we offered:
20 shows, 17 workshops for/ with: 50 parents/grand parents, 75 teachers administrators and 1,177 children! Guy will continue to travel to the region with other performers two weeks out of every month in the near future.
Below you will find my journal entries and photographs. Big thanks to the Emirates Airlines Foundation for their support by flying me to Japan.
Moshe Cohen was the US artist in this project. Afterwards, he stayed on in Yangon to do 5 shows with the Belgian-Myanmar group.
At the same time he offered training sessions to Activity Facilitators who work with children in Training Schools and Child Friendly Spaces of disadvantaged areas. The training was similar to the delta workshops in focus, taking the work further by Moshe’s participation in AF activities in the field, thus providing hands on training.
This winter the international CWB push as all of last years groups are sending performances to Myanmar. Moshe Cohen will focus on working in the Training Schools, in Yangon and in Mandalay. He will be offering performances and furthering last year’s training with Activity Facilitators with more workshops and field trainings.
In a few words (for those without time to read it all), the project proved very successful in many ways: spreading large amounts of laughter, creating humorful performances in collaboration with Myanmar artists, and empowering local educators and activity leaders with new skills to increase the humor, joy and laughter component in their daily activities with children. In addition, the project brought skilled artists from numerous countries, disciplines and cultures together to reach out to a population that welcomes more laughter into their lives. The project was managed with fiscal efficiency and frugality, the collaboration with local partners was very dynamic. The total numbers are not yet in (Belgian and French project), however in the activities I was involved in we reached 6500 people in 20 shows, the great majority of them children. 50 plus educators and activity trainers participated in workshops as did a little over 100 children. The ‘French’ and Belgian projects are having/had (the Belgians are active until the end of February) similar impacts.. In addition, the Swedes have an active parallel project in Yangun with the Eden (Disabled) Center offering workshops and creating performance. The French Clowns Sans Frontieres started coming to Myanmar in 2004, and Clowns Without Borders looks forwards to more projects in years to come.
A collaboration, five artists assisted by one photographer and one logistician composed the Clowns Without Borders team for the expedition. An interesting team with artists who present different skills, backgrounds and experiences. The show reflected this diversity and all the different audiences they encountered found laugher, dreams and magic.
It is the strangest of situations to say the least, sitting and eating in an upscale Mexican-American restaurant amongst the clatter of dishes and glasses and conversations. What creates the incongruities is that here in Baton Rouge, Louisiana there are also over three hundred shelters operating amongst an army of Red Cross staff and volunteers. Life appears close to normal, stores are open, people are shopping, however the streets are jam packed with traffic as this city of 200 000 has swelled by some estimates to close to 500 000.
The expedition, a return to Nepal by Desastrosus Cirkus and Moshe Cohen was funded by Spanish acrobat Elsa Moreno, who died last year of a blood disease and was a friend to all those participating in the expedition.
The main destination of this expedition were the Bhutanese Refugee Camps located on the South Eastern Edge of Nepal where approximately 110 000 of 150 000 Bhutanese refugees in Nepal live. Returning to a number of NGO’s in Kathmandu was also on the agenda, as well as a trip to the Children’s hospital and the Tibetan Reception Center.
Our motto during our stay became: less military, more clowns. It is strange how one becomes used to seeing to the military presence. There are still plenty of places full of post-traumatic stress disorder and shell shock that could really use a visit by the clowns.