An exciting new book is about to hit the archives of theatre.

A comprehensive look at the extraordinary phenomenon of the Amsterdam Festival of Fools theatre explosion in the mid 70s and 80s which caused rippling waves around Europe and further afield for many years after.

Michael Evans on the far left of the three Fools on the Openluchtheater stage, Vondel Park, Amsterdam 1977 performing with Theatre Slapstique of London at the Festival of Fools.

The book conceived by Michael Evans, ex-technician of one of the Founder groups of that time, The Great Salt Lake Mime Troupe, who also appeared with Theatre Slapstique and Footsbarn Theatre, has been compiled and edited by Michael together with myself – the writer indeed of this blog ! – who between the two of us were present at all of the Amsterdam Festivals of Fools from 1975 to 1984. There were also a couple of reunion festivals in 1995 and 1996 which I also performed at and there were quite a few international versions over the years of similar directly influenced Fools Festivals around the world.

Festival of Fools 1978: Improvisation night in the Fonteinzaal, Amsterdam with (left to right) Matt Mitler, Johnny Melville, Justin Case and the towering presence of Peter Wear

American Clown Jango Edwards was the Initiator of the Amsterdam of The Festival of Fools Scene and Fools Diplomat since the early 1970s to the present day.

Many brilliant performers and teachers – Avner the Eccentric, Annie Stainer, Katie Duck, Carlos Trafic et al – have been an influential part of the movement, but Jango, due to his presence at the forefront of ‘nouveau clown’ remains in the eyes of many as the Figurehead of the Fools. Certainly his initiative of the Nouveau Clown Institute has kept that particular family alive with continuous opportunities for student-actors-in-training in Barcelona, Spain, or at Slava Polunin’s Moulin Jaune near Paris, France.

Jango graciously accepted to honour the book with the Foreword.

The book features traces influences both before and after the special time of the Festivals themselves, plus featured articles on Scandinavia, the Southern Hemisphere, Clowns in ‘Service’, the rise of Woman Clowns, the importance of Music to the Fool, certain fool lineages like the Familia Colombaioni, Chaplin, Bassi and modern Foolomenons like Footsbarn Theatre. Plus anecdotes, stories and archives of what I would call the richest time in theatre.

There are over 150 contributions from fools and clowns from all the world over, extensive archives of the Festival Posters and Programs of Amsterdam and offshoot festivals and tons of hitherto unseen fotos and illustrations from backstage and onstage.

The book features a series of ‘Jokers’ – solo artists of various styles –  spanning the years 1970 to 2022. Above we can see The first and last of the Jokers in the book

This year in 2022 in September, October there is a scheduled another Festival of Fools in Barcelona, Spain. Keep your eyes and ears open here for more details like dates, workshop courses and performance schedules soon !

The book retails in shops for $157 in the USA.

This has been a 2 year work-in-process. We would be glad to accept donations, sponsorship and tips as this is an amazing work that we financed ourselves.

If you would like to order and be one of the first owners  please use the form below. We can discuss private prices: copies can also be privately ordered and custom delivered within 2 weeks from our printers….orders will be possible from May 1, 2022

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