Hilary has been teaching Theatre Clown, Physical Comedy and Hospital Clowning since before the turn of the century at festivals, universities, hospital clown programs, corporations, schools worldwide.  Having studied with many of the world’s best teachers in the field, she has crafted her own method of teaching people to be authentic and vulnerable, playful and funny, daring and skillful. Her years on stage and on hospital floors have given her the deep understanding of what it takes to be in front of an audience and have them laughing from the gut and crying from the heart.

For more information on hiring Hilary, write to info@hilarychaplain.com

Her teachers include Julie Taymour, Tony Montanaro, Avner Eisenberg & Julie Goell, Philippe Gaulier, Aitor Basauri of Spymonkey, Dick Monday, Giovanni Fussetti, Michael Christensen,  Bill Irwin, David Shiner, Angela de Castro, Bob Berky and Ricardo Puccetti.

Here is a sampling of some of where she has taught:

  • New York University, Tisch Undergraduate Drama
  • Women’s Clown Festivals in Vienna, Recife, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janero, Brasilia
  • Holon Puppet & Object Theatre Festival, Israel
  • Clown Encuentro, Bogota, Colombia
  • Patravadi High School, Hua Hin, Thailand
  • Rote Nasen Hospital Clowns and CliniClowns, Austria
  • Big Apple Circus Clown Care Hospital Program National Conference
  • The Little Theatre Hospital Clowns  – Chennai, India – Trained the first group of clowns to create this program in 2015
  • Artistic New Directions Improvisation retreats, USA
  • Performance of A Lifetime, Corporate workshops, USA

Physical Comedy

This class looks at physical comedy from a clown point of view exploring these principles: what makes it funny, what makes it repeatable, how do we approach writing the funny. Expand your physical vocabulary and develop tools for playing comedy using the techniques of slapstick, improvisation, partnership, comic timing, and accidents in solo, due and group exercises. We will build short pieces of material using these skills and putting technique into context while discovering the individual voices of the participants. Students will leave this class with a very clear idea of how to begin to create material and hone it with their own voice.

This class is suitable for old and young, experienced and novice performers, for clowns, burlesque performers, puppeteers and pretty much any kind of performer who wants to bring comedy, physicality and honesty into their work!

Hospital Clown

The workshop in Hospital Clowning is tailored to the needs of the organization whether they be first starting out on the journey to becoming hospital clowns to seasoned veterans. Topics covered can include partnering, working with your audience, the use of Physical Comedy and Slap Stick in the hospital environment, playing out your material to it’s fullest, status play with the partner and the patient, being present in the work and the glory of failure. We will work specifically with the partnerships we form in the hospital with our environment, our clown partner, the children, the family and the staff, improvising and creating material suitable for the specialized environment and culture of a care facility. Having worked for 24 years with the Big Apple Clown Care Unit, Hilary is one of the foremost teachers of this work. She has helped create organizations in Finland and India, and has taught both in the US and internationally for over 15 years.

“Hilary’s knowledge and understanding of the hospital work is extensive and her ability to share it with us was personal and professional. She was delightful as a teacher and created a very supportive atmosphere. We all enjoyed the workshop, it is already very useful for our job at the hospitals and we hope we can have her here in Mexico some other time again. Not only she is a great teacher but a great person too.”

Guadalupe Maurer Espinosa, Doctores Apapachos Puebla, Mexico

Here are some of the group’s testimonies:

¡Extraordinario taller!
Marina Camacho
Valoro mucho la calidad de entrenamientos para ser cada día mejores
Isabel González

Theatre Clown

If you are working as clown and want your work to go deeper and into dark places and come out laughing, crying, and laughing again, this class if for you. We will explore how we find the pathos of comedy that emerges from our hearts. When we work from a place of personal truth and with the vulnerability of the clown, the humor extends to pathos.

This course explores the techniques of comedy both physical and verbal. We use exercises based on the traditions of Italian commedia, clown, old vaudeville, stand-up and just plain old theatre games. We explore the vulnerable places within each of us beyond gags and prat falls, connecting the heart in a creative way that brings out our collective universal humor and makes us laugh from the gut.

Former Students Say:

“HILARY CHAPLAIN is a brilliant teacher and performer, and her physical comedy class is AWESOME. She creates a friendly, fun, and hard working environment for people at many different levels of experience. If you want to grow as a physical performer and have your mind/body expanded in the process, run (or prat fall) there as soon as you can!”

Cathy Rose Salit, CEO and co-founder Performance Of A Lifetime

“Hilary is a master teacher. She creates a safe, playful, fun learning environment for people of all skill levels. I learned a great deal about developing as a clown, connecting to other clowns and the audience. And doing everything with intention and love.”

Marian Rich, NYC student

“Joy of physical play got very much invigorated. Hilary Chaplain freed the group to explore fun, fun and more fun while she facilitated proven and tested basic structures for us clowns or clown wannabes. This class more than lived up to my expectations!”

Connie Perry NYC student

“Hilary’s workshop was truly a joy. She is a wonderful teacher with a generous spirit who has crafted a class that is accessible and fun for performers with all levels of experience. I walked away totally enchanted by the world of the clown, struck by how openhearted and lovely this work is. Many skills I gained in this class will be useful to me in all of my acting. Highly recommended!

Amanda Miller, NYC student

“Thank you for a weekend of playing. It was so satisfying and helpful for me. It was important to hear, “It might be funny and it might not,” because that took away any pressure someone might feel to *be funny*. Instead, the workshop was about playing and exploring and listening and responding and being honest and a little vulnerable all together. In doing the exercises, we learned more skills and ideas for performance, but we also practiced being compassionate, forgiving people, I think.

Kerry Elson, NYC student

“I really enjoyed your workshop. You framed the exercises in a way that resonated with every participant, no matter our level of training, and created a container of success for all of us. Thank you!

Z Smith, NYC student

“That hour with you made ALL the difference. You are an incredible director and it was such an amazing experience for me to immediately sense your talent, and expertise and that I could really let go and trust what you had to say.

Lara Lee Rasberry Circus Contraption

“I thoroughly enjoyed the workshops with Hilary. A really balanced mix of clown technique and physical comedy, I was able to work on my slapstick as well as my contact with the audience. The workshops were full of laughter and hard work – exactly the way it should be!”

Christina Knöbel, student in Vienna

“Really enjoyed the workshop – great, simple, always needed focus of listening for and growing the game WITH your partner FOR the audience. It was a good amount of risk for me too – started safe, got riskier, but never terrifying. Appreciated you framing the “taking steps forward” exercise as hard to do but good to learn from.

Sarah Peterseil – performer and co-founder of Under The Table, Hospital Clown, Big Apple Circus