Clowns of the World

Clowns of the World is a new website to be devoted to clowns around the world. We will be adding clown profiles, pictures, descriptions of clowning and entertainment talents and contact information for clowns around the world.

Harlequin: The evolution of clowning reached professional status by the 16th century. Actors devoted their couriers to clowning and the "Cornmedia dell'Arte" formed as the first professional touring company in Italy. The public responded with enthusiasm and the troupe played to full houses. Certain character roles developed and the audiences came to expect appearances by them in each performance.

Their costumes and dialects also became stylized to the point where audiences instantly knew who each character was by his costume. The chief character was "Arlecchino", a masked figure who engaged in many slapstick routines. Arlecchino was later changed to Harlequin when the Commedia dell' Arte finally arrived in England. The first of the Harlequins were characterized as simpletons, but they evolved into a more cunning character...ones who would use their presumed absence of intelligence to trick the unwary.

The Harlequin character was noted for his knockabout, slapstick scenes, often tripping over his own feet, knocking over scenery, and sometimes even taking his shenanigans into the audience. Though some of the other characters were more clown-like than the Harlequin, it is he who often receives the credit as the forerunner of today's classical clown.