This month we’re delighted to introduce you to the originator of our Clown Round project. Often seen conducting her rounds in hospital children’s wards, Chris loves nothing more than to bring a bit of creativity infused joy to young patients and their families in Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex.
Name: Chris Draude (aka Dr Christobell Misschief)
Can you tell us a little bit about your own practice?
I’m a therapeutic clown that works in the community. A facilitator in laughter yoga, clowning, drama, mask work, games and circus skills. The main philosophy behind my work is to empower, connect and engage with people by giving them permission to be silly; to liberate laughter, joy and wonder. My work is inclusive and fun and I am most keen on taking the arts to places where they do not normally happen or to people that would not normally be involved.
What’s been your favourite artistic experience of the past 12 months?
I am so lucky to be able to do the work I do, it is such a privilege. There have been so many amazing moments. To hear real belly laughs on a hospital ward and to see a parent so moved that her child has laughed or smiled again is indescribable. I love that the simplest things can be so funny, like the act of squeaking a nose! Most recently we have been re-establishing our work at Norfolk & Norwich hospital and the staff have started to use the service for the benefit of the patients and their practice, for example by distracting a young patient whilst a medical procedure is needed. This is what it is all about, providing a real service!
Which Suffolk Artlink projects have you worked on to date?
Clown Round, Forget-me-not and JumpstART.
How has working with Suffolk Artlink influenced your work?
I am eternally grateful to Suffolk Artlink and particularly Hayley Field in believing in the vision that I had and making it a reality! We’re now nearly ten years on and Clown Round has fine-tuned my work, heightened my sensitivity, awareness and mindfulness. It has enabled me to expand and grow into providing clowning in the settings where it is most needed and can make huge differences. As a clown doctor, I learn so much from the strength, belief and courage of our patients and their families. I also learn from the other clown doctors and their artistic practice. It’s a joy to work alongside other artists and share such magical and moving moments. Suffolk Artlink have given me a belief that you can do what you truly want to do, and this is transforming!
How would you describe Suffolk Artlink in 3 words?
Innovative, Enabling, Exciting
Find out more about Chris: www.chrisalisclowning.co.uk