Rebel Clown tickling techniques

IssueDecember 2011 / January 2012
Comment by PN staff

The Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army (CIRCA) has reclaimed the art of Rebel Clowning: its combatants don't pretend to be clowns, they are clowns, real trained clowns. Clowns that have run away from the anaemic safety of the circus and escaped the banality of kids' parties.

CIRCA aims to make clowning dangerous again, to bring it back to the street, restore its disobedience and give it back the social function it once had: its ability to disrupt, critique and heal society.

Rebel Clowns are trained by CIRCA recruiting officers, using a variety of different exercises; training includes finding your inner clown, civil disobedience tactics, learning to be spontan-eous and playful, practising clown gaggle manoeuvres and, last but not least, marching and drilling.

Everyone in CIRCA is asked to form or join a Clown Gaggle (a group of clowns which you can name Battalion/Contingent/Brigade/Division/Regiment or any other suitably stupid title). Gaggles can be based around your locality, a pre-existing affinity group or group of friends, or around a common interest or identity (like doing a similar style of clowning, a specific clown action or having a focus like "no borders"). A suggested size is between 5-20 clowns. These Clown Gaggles will function in a similar way to affinity group.
Clown Gaggles should plan to be self-reliant including providing for their own logistics, needs and support before, during and after actions.

You cannot take part in CIRCA actions unless you have some experience of Rebel Clown Trainings. Here's a little taster.


Clowns move like a school of fish: Stand together in a clump as tight as possible while still having room to move. The person who finds herself at the front in the direction of the clump initiates a motion/gesture /sound. The clump gradually keeps changing direction, with new people constantly finding themselves at the front of the gaggle.

Pointers: Stay close, keep movements simple, use levels (high to low), the key is completely synchronized movement.


The gaggle of clowns moves forward and backward as if it is a sock being pulled inside out.

Moving forward: Form a clump. Clowns at the back of the clump move to the front of the clump. (You can do between or around. Imagine somebody is taking a picture of the clowns and you want to be at the front!) When you find yourself at the back again, move to the front. When you reach a destination, reverse. Clowns at the front move to the back. Peel off.

Advanced version: Sock with an emotion. For example: sock forward with love, sock backward with disgust. Sock forward with hunger, sock backward with nausea. Sock forward with curiosity, sock backward with contempt.

Topics: Culture, events