"Your tuition is free.
The following fees are incurred:
$140 per week for housing,
which includes a kitchen, and
a $600 materials fee
(note: Clown College students
keep all individual clowning
Meals, spending money and
transportation to and from
Clown College are not included.
A limited number of
scholarships are available to
help defray expenses".
Ferlo - Johnson - Merlino
Class of 1986
"Vokie" & Tina Aguirre
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College holds sessions each year from July through September. If you've always dreamed about a career in this age-old art, here's a step-by-step guide to the application process:
You must be 17 years or older, a high school graduate and a citizen of the United States.
Auditions are mandatory and are held in most of the 80 to 90 cities that Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey visits during its year-round national tour. At these auditions you'll be able to talk to Clown College veterans, find out about life on the road and get an insider's look at clowning as a career. If you are unable to attend a scheduled audition, every attempt will be made by Clown College staff or alumni to schedule a personal audition. For specifics on the date, time and location of the audition nearest you, please check your local media listing, or write to:
Ringling Bros. and Barnum &
Bailey Clown College
P.O. Box 39040
Sarasota, FL 34238-0041
Or call 1-800-755-9637 (NOTE: This information is no longer valid).
During your audition, you'll be asked to perform a series of simple improvisational exercises, individually and in a group. Since the main interest is in your clowning potential, a costume, makeup or general clowning skills are not needed for this audition. If you do possess a circus skill or theatrical ability, such as juggling, playing an instrument or acrobatics, there will be a short time at the end of the audition to present this.
Prior experience in clowning is not necessary for admission. The admissions committee will use the following criteria to evaluate you: evidence of motivation, sincerity, raw talent, improvisational ability, sense of timing and perceived aptitude for hard work.
Kenneth Feld, Chairman and Producer of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey attends the graduation ceremonies of Clown College each year. Mr. Feld evaluates the performance of each graduate and offers contracts to selected students to tour with The Greatest Show on Earth. While the number of apprentice clowns needed each year varies, usually one-third of the graduates are offered contracts. You may be a successful graduate of the training program and receive a contract at a later date. If an agreement is reached, apprentice clowns start rehearsals during December and begin their 11-month tour in January. New clowns must serve an apprenticeship of at least one year.
Whether your dream of becoming a performing circus clown is realized or not, to be an alumnus of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College is an honor and an experience you'll always cherish. You'll leave Clown College with special knowledge of the great traditions of clowning and as an apprentice member of a sacred fraternity dedicated to bringing joy to others.