Hallelujah! Clown Choir began in 2012 as part of Veronica Coburn’s Artist in Residency in Draíocht for 2012/2013.
What is a Clown Choir? A Clown Choir is a group of people who gather together to sing and laugh – to sing in celebration of what it is to be human and to laugh at the ridiculousness of the world we live in. You didn't have to be a good singer or a performer to join Hallelujah! You just had to be interested and willing - the ethos was one of accessibility, inclusiveness and artistic excellence.
In 2013 Hallelujah! performed their signature tune, Smile written by Charlie Chaplin, in a variety of places. The choir also worked on a performance piece about road rage entitled The M50 Symphony, an original work for human voice and car horn. And to finish the year the choir performed their Clown Nativity on Draíocht’s Main Stage.
2014 saw the Choir focus on building a musical and red nose repertoire including a selection of songs and short clown sketches. They performed at a number of events throughout 2014 including in City Hall as part of Culture Night and recorded their show, Clown Nativity, for local Radio, broadcast on Phoenix FM.
2015 saw Hallelujah! develop a new show for performance on Draíocht’s Main Stage in the Autumn, 'Ship of Fools'. The piece was created through the workshop process and written by Veronica Coburn inspired by the participants own experiences. The red nosed performers explored themes of personal ambition, fate and courage or lack thereof.
A Note From Emer McGowan – Executive Director of Draíocht
Draíocht believe that accessing all kinds of quality arts experiences is a right and should be part of the menu of our lives, that lifelong learning is essential, that within us all is the need to hear and be heard, to connect, to matter. By opening our doors wide, by inviting people in, by providing the space, supports and the inspiration, we know that all kinds of connections will be made and lives are changed. Hallelujah, Draíocht’s Community Clown Choir is important because it gave people the space not only to play but to discover. Over 150 participants have engaged with the project and they have worked with 7 artists, 3 designers and 8 production crew. Some participants came once, some stayed for three years. We have performed to over 2000 people in various locations in Dublin 15, Dublin City Centre and of course here in Draíocht. And though all of us appreciate that the numbers are important and need to be counted, the community that is the Clown Choir, the friendships, the support, the confidence to be vulnerable in front of others, to stand up and say yes this is me, the pushing of your own potential and going way beyond what you ever imagined, is the thing that will remain.
I would like to pay tribute to our funders, The Arts Council and Fingal County Council, to Draíocht’s Board of Directors who believed in the Project, to our dedicated team both part time and full time, who work quietly in the background to make all of our programmes happen, to the artistic team who have shaped the Project and invested in it in all kinds of ways. And I would to pay a special tribute to my friend and colleague, Veronica Coburn. The Choir was her brilliant vision. She knew it would work. We did too. And lastly, I would like to thank all our Clowns. This has been the best of us.
When the project finished in Draíocht, a number of clowns continued on and formed the Clown Chorus, meeting regularly to continue clowning and singing. You can find them on Facebook and keep in touch with their adventures. Or you could even join up!