A Year of Physical Comedy, in English

A Year of Physical Comedy (YOP) is a unique collaboration between the Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts and the aid organisation Clowns without Borders Sweden. Clowns without Borders is a volunteer organisation that sends performers to refugee camps and catastrophe-stricken and devastated areas around the world.

The application date has expired and the course is running from January to December 2011 - here you can read about the programme.

Do you want to learn techniques developed by Clowns without Borders Sweden; to spread laughter and hope in communities struck by crisis around the world? Do you want to live, study and train in Stockholm for one year, create your own solo show and go on two international tours? Then apply to our Master’s Programme in Performing Arts!


This is the content of A Year of Physical Comedy, YOP:

  • Two international clowns/circus tours areas of crisis
  • The development of a solo performance
  • The writing of a Master’s dissertation with in-depth reflection of one’s own artistic practice

Our students

Our Master’s Programme is specially designed for professional performers with experience of independent entertainment routines; that is to say, performing artists with a background in the traditions of trick based or physical comedy such as clowns, magicians, jugglers, acrobats, mime artists, etc.

Students will acquire the tools to produce independent creative work in the spirit of Clowns without Borders and get an introduction to norm-critical thinking for an increased awareness of relevant identity positions and power relationships.

Our artistic guidelines

The Artist/Creator: All people have creative ability. Artists are those who have honed their craft extensively and are most creative when they understand how to command the entire creative process and have the possibility of doing so.

After the completed programme, each artist will have created their own 30-minute show.

Audicene Based Work: Without an audience our art form dies. Therefore, our work with the audience is the main focus in the creative process. This does not entail any sacrifice of artistic integrity, but strengthens the artist’s need of context in each society being performed for.

After the completed programme, the artists will have a basic knowledge of international development cooperation and the artists’ role in it.

The Zen of Clowning: This is the motto of the clown: “Comfort the disturbed. Disturb the comfortable.” In the spirit of Clowns without Borders we will focus on comforting the disturbed. This means that we work with tools that create and encourage audience contact, where we respect the audience’s boundaries but challenge them to play.

After the completed programme, each artist will have acquired new tools for meeting an audience, whether a single child in a hospital or 6000 people in a refugee camp.

The Bag of Tricks: In the spirit of Clowns without Borders, it shall be possible for the solo shows you have created to be performed for 1 to 6000 people at thirty minutes notice, without electricity, a set or a raised stage. This is achieved by adding to your bag of tricks - lazzis, gags, routines and character work.

After the completed programme, each artist will have new insights into how to use their own bag of tricks to create laughter and positive human connections.

Love Thyself!: On airline flights we learn to put on our own oxygen masks before we begin to help others. This applies also to artists whose work it is to give of themselves.

The programme aims to function as a free zone where artists are given the time to take care of themselves; a place of safety in which to discover your own innovative creativity; a meeting place in which to learn about the world and how to make it better.

Study information

Studies are on a full-time basis and attendance is mandatory. This means that the possibilities of any form of employment alongside of studies are very limited indeed.

Applicants should have the desire to use physical comedy to make the world a better place.

Language: Admission is international and the common language is English. Very good English language competence is therefore a strict requirement.

Note: The application date has expired.

Selection and admission

1. A first selection among applicants will be made. These persons will then be called to participate in one or several workshops in Stockholm. Applicants may also be called to audition and be interviewed in another country, depending on place of domicile.

2. A second stage in the selection process may include further interviews, either in person or by telephone.

3. Following our final selection, applicants will be informed of whether or not they have been accepted.

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Programme leaders - contact

Nalle and Pelle have extensive experience of leading and participating in clown- and circus expeditions areas of crisis. They also have several years’ experience of teaching in institutions of fine and performing arts. Camilla is a pioneering spirit in research and in teaching about the relationship between circus performance, theory and research.

Camilla Damkjær, Ph.D. in theatre studies and acrobat


Telephone: +46(0)702-79 58 55

Pelle Hanæus, actor and theatre director


Telephone: +46(0)701-64 31 80

Nalle Laanela, founder of Clowns without Borders Sweden, clown and circus director


Telephone: +46(0)705-18 33 92

Clowns without Borders

Visit the international website of Clowns without Borders.