What do we teach at Mooseburger Clown Arts Camp?
Maybe a better question would be “What don’t we teach???”
If you’re willing to learn it, we’re willing to teach it! Click to Download the schedule to see all the education we have planned for you!
We offer our curriculum much in the same way as a university does: one major and many electives. Your major is the COURSE and your electives are the AFTERNOON WORKSHOPS.
COURSES:You will meet with the same instructor for 2 hours every morning, studying one — and only one — of the main courses.
WORKSHOPS : After lunch, you can choose from many different Afternoon Workshops each day! These cover every aspect of clowning, children’s entertainment, business, and performance. Sometimes the staff will be teaching portions of their course in a shorter Workshop format. We recommend you try all our staff. If you like them, then perhaps next year you will want to take a course from another staff on another subject!
Don’t know which Course to choose? Relax, we’ve gotcha covered. As part of your registration, you will receive a free PEP (Personal Education Plan) Talk by way of a phone call from Tricia Manuel (aka “Pricilla Mooseburger”). Your PEP Talk will help you get the most out of your time at Moose Camp. After getting to know what sort of clowning you wish to do, Tricia will give you the best suggestions for which Course and Workshops to take. For more information about your PEP, go to the “What Makes Us Different” section.
Here are the MORNING COURSES:
The Art of the Gag
Taught by: Joshua Zehner
This course focuses on physical acting and storytelling. The clown is the ultimate storyteller. Whether their story is a 3 minute gag or a 30 second walk-around, it’s the clown’s job to be captivating. In this course, you will go in depth, exploring this concept by creating gags together! This is perfect for someone who’s trying to find their voice as a character and find material to perform as a clown.
Birthday Parties and Show Routines
Taught by: Rex Nolen
Rex Nolen has worked everything from living rooms to circus arenas. Put your shows together using practical business tips, comedy magic, routining, child management skills, adapting your character, and much more. This course will teach you routines you can really use. Rex’s tried-and-true methods and wide range of experience make your business bloom! Learn and laugh your way to success! Be prepared to go home with a ton of useful material.
Clowning 101 *
Taught by: Tricia Manuel, Brenda Marshall
Learn the funny art of clowning from the ground up. Tricia and Brenda will gently introduce you to make-up, costuming, character development, and performance skills. Their holistic approach will seamlessly interweave the skills that will start you on the road toward being a great clown. Their sharing-and-caring style will teach you volumes in a short time! When you leave Moose Camp, you will have all the basics you need to begin your new life as a clown. If you have never put on make-up before, then Clowning 101 is the right Course for you!
* There is a $40 fee to buy the recommended make-up kit. In past years we simply had make-up at the table for everyone to use communally, but the risk of cross-contamination has now become an issue. For the health of our campers we can no longer offer it that way. The kit will contain all the necessary items to create both Auguste and Whiteface clown characters. There will be mirrors and containers of Q-tips and wet-wipes available for your use at the make-up table. Please know that we tried our best to put only the bare essentials in the kit and to keep it at wholesale cost. The kit we put together for you will be much cheaper than buying the same make-up separately in the Dealers Room.
The Colorful and Fun Art of Face Painting
Taught by: Cheri Venturi
Nowhere in the US can clowns get a better education in face painting than through this seven hours hands-on progressive workshop! Starting with learning to master the techniques necessary to make your artwork pop and wow a crowd, in this class students learn how to apply these techniques to create beautiful masterpieces. From simple and fast designs aimed at efficiently moving the line, the most popular designs of all time to how to paint designs that WOW, this class is a must for anyone looking to fine tune their skills and learn new ones.
* There is a $48 fee to buy the recommended face-painting kit. In past years we had sample palettes for everyone to use communally, but the risk of cross-contamination has now become a hygiene issue. For the health of our campers we can no longer offer it that way. The beginner kit will contain a simple palette and tools for creating the basics. If you have your own face paint palettes and tools, please bring them along — you needn’t purchase the kit if you are bringing your own supplies.
Taught by: Fred Baisch
After decades of being both a serious stage magician and a magical clown, Fred is a wealth of entertainment knowledge. He’ll teach you the ins and outs of Comedy Magic. Learn basics of hand manipulation, popular tricks, and how to incorporate them into your performance as a clown. He’ll show you some of his best secrets, too. Don’t just be a clown who does magic — be a magical clown!
Comic Movement Intensive
Taught by: Karen Bell, Robin Eurich
Ever wanted to move like a cartoon? We will help you get in touch with your character’s physicality and learn how to safely move your body like a clown should. This course is an “intensive”, which means it is intended for students who have already taken Clowning 101. Exercises will be physical in nature, so wear comfortable clothing and supportive footwear and be prepared to MOVE!
Hospital and Caring Clowning
Taught by: Karen DeSanto
We believe clowns serve a deeper purpose than mere diversion. Karen brings experience of both working solo in playrooms and patient rooms, and working with a partner making rounds throughout the hospital and senior centers. Wherever you are on your journey in caring clowning, she can meet you there and offer insight for positively impacting your audience. Learn what to expect from this highly demanding and rewarding work. This course includes a visit with patients in a local care facility, with Karen supervising visits. It creates the perfect safe environment to get your feet wet in this special art of Clowning!
Taught by: Greg DeSanto, Neal Skoy
Want to write a short gag? Need to develop an entire stage show? Are you in charge of long-term project and have to write all the skits? Greg and Neal’s experience both under the big top and on stage will guide you in learning the nuts and bolts of successful comedy. In this course, you will learn what makes a skit work well, and how to create your own original material. Bring your thinking cap!
Prop Building 101
Taught by: Terry Ricketts
If you love to make your own props – this is your class.
If you enjoy making people laugh using only the things you have around the house – this is your class.
If you are cheap and want easy things to make – this is your class.
…seriously, we make clown props out of just about ANYTHING. And Kazoo Band instruments are a must!
On to the Afternoon Workshops!
There are many, many workshop offerings to choose from. Our staff is so talented it is tough trying to find room in the schedule for all the classes this bunch has to offer! The exact list of workshops offered may change prior to Moose Camp, but at least you’ll get a pretty good idea of what each instructor’s specialties are and how they can help you!
Fun Magic With Ropes and Sponges – Learn the ropes — literally! Easy-to-learn magic with sponges and trick ropes. This is a great opportunity to learn some quick and easy magic for stage or strolling.
Pocket Magic for Walk-Around Events — Load up your pockets and get ready for magic on the go! Learn some of the best magic tricks to perform while on the move. Perfect for fairs, picnics, restaurants, outdoors, or anywhere you need portable magic!
Fun Magic for Birthday Parties and More! — Fred will show what it takes to put comedy magic into your routines for birthday parties or any place you need to perform a bit of magic. Perfect for those of you who use magic, ideal for clowns wondering what it is all about! Learn how to be a funny magical clown from one of the best in the business.
Face Painting Demo — Here is your chance to watch as plain faces transform into beautiful butterflies, masked heroes, and anything else you can imagine. Anita will demonstrate the fun art of face painting!.
Eek, I booked a Birthday Party…Now What Do I Do? — Since there is so little chance to see what other clowns do at the birthday party Karen will perform as if this class is a birthday party. Learn all the mistakes Karen has made in her thousands of Birthday Parties. We will discuss the intricacies of putting together a performance and how to keep the party going in a positive direction. This class is all about making the birthday party a very special day for the birthday child and the parents.
How to Use a Clown Hat — Ever end up someplace with nothing to do? Use your hat! There are great tricks and illusions that can be done with a simple felt hat. Let her show you how to make your hat a clown partner! This class includes lots of student participation and belly laughs!
How to Rehearse! – This is an invaluable class to anyone cast in the All Star Clown Show. You’ll learn the basics of team-work, timing, and handling critique. Team-taught with Robin Eurich, immediately following the All Star Clown Show casting.
Successful Meet & Greet – Use your eyes instead of your ego to engage the public…learn to read your audience the same way you learned how to read the road in Drivers Education! Your audience us telling you how they are reacting to you as a clown, your job is being able to successfully understand what they are saying to you through voice and body language. Team-taught with Robin Eurich.
Make-up Lab – We will be conducting the labs per the needs of the students – from application pointers, to consultation, to complete face overhaul. Come to an environment where we can further develop your clown unique character. How do you bring your inner clown to the surface in an approachable manner? Bring your own make-up.
Character Development – How do you develop an authentic clown character? Become a unique performer instead of a cookie cutter clown. Let’s unlock the mystery with simple useful ideas that allow you to become the clown character you have always wanted to be!
Art of Working with Soap – Observe the master while he turns ordinary bar soap into the best clown cream pies you’ve ever seen! Greg will show you the ideal tools and supplies to use for whipping up the frothiest soap.
Gag Writing – Clowning is very much like a live action cartoon. What we do is tell a story with a beginning, middle and end. Those three elements are at the heart of all clown routines. Whether called gags, routines, entrees or skits, they are the framework that you will hang your comic bits of business onto. Greg & Karen will take you through the process of creating a story that relates to your clown character, builds the comedy and finishes with the “blow-off.” Team-taught with Karen DeSanto.
How To Teach a Jr. Joey Program – Karen and Greg run a clown-skills program for kids and teens, and they will share the secrets of their success. How do you present the Art of Clowning to the next generation? Karen will break it down for you and help you build a basic program.
Gag Writing – Clowning is very much like a live action cartoon. What we do is tell a story with a beginning, middle and end. Those three elements are at the heart of all clown routines. Whether called gags, routines, entrees or skits, they are the framework that you will hang your comic bits of business onto. Greg & Karen will take you through the process of creating a story that relates to your clown character, builds the comedy and finishes with the “blow-off.” Team-taught with Greg DeSanto..
Make-up lab — Come to an environment where you can further develop your clown unique persona. A clown’s make-up is their own trademark. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or new ideas! Bring your own make-up.
Mime & Movement for Clowns – Taking cues from the Art of Mime, Robin will show you how to build more comic movement into your own clown character. You will learn how to present yourself like a pro and feel funny doing it.
Comic Movement and Character Development – Exaggeration, double-takes, facial expressions, and lots more. Get used to moving your body in a clowny way – it’s a tool, use it! Learn how to develop your clown character while staying true to yourself. Lots of ideas and discussion in this workshop!
Make-up Lab – We will be conducting the labs per the needs of the students – from application pointers, to consultation, to complete face overhaul. Come to an environment where we can further develop your clown unique character. How do you bring your inner clown to the surface in an approachable manner? Bring your own make-up. Team-taught with Sean Carlock and Emily DeSanto.
Face Painting Tips & Techniques from a Master Artist – Having worked with all mediums of face makeup and body art for many years with Mehron, Gene has tons of ideas to help your face painting business, including application techniques, tools, product demos, and designs.
Puppetry Basics — Make ‘em move, make ‘em live! How to work puppets, from simple to complex, to add them to your performance so that they are alive and real. We’ll cover entrances, exits, basic movements, manipulation do’s and don’ts, and the most important aspect of all — static life.
Hold that Pose! For Pictures, Parades and Media – Learn the easy tricks for taking a great picture every time. Everything from posture, to poses with and without fans, to using props and sets, to valuable business tips, you’ll walk out of this workshop looking like a pro!
Physical Comedy for Every Body Ability! – The name of this workshop says it all! No matter what your body type or athletic ability (or lack thereof), you can incorporate these bits of comic movement into your clowning.
Library & School Shows – Clowning, storytelling, puppetry, and magic are skills which you can use to entertain AND educate young audiences. Learn how to get involved in your local libraries and schools, put together a show, and use your current skills to make them laugh while they learn.
Airbrush Face Paint Demo – Ever thought about adding an airbrush system to your face-paint business? Here is your chance to see one in action! Sandy will have a Question & Answer session after the demo.
How to Tie a Balloon – For beginners only! Dan and many of the staff will be providing hands-on help you need to create simple balloon creations. Not everyone needs Snoopy on a motorcycle! Learn the basics to get you started on this fun and lucrative hobby.
Entertaining with Balloons – Dan will give you the extra help you need to create simple balloon creations while entertaining your audience. They’re already watching you twist, why not make a show out of it? Learn the stuff you need to “do” balloons for parties and festivals.
Tricia Manuel :
Making Magical Moments: Meet & Greet – Use your eyes instead of your ego to engage the public. Learn the simple steps to creating that special moment between you and your audience. Tricia will cover everything from the ice-breaker to the farewell.
Let’s Do Skits! – Need some ideas on easy-to-do skits to bring back to your alley? Tricia and other staff members will act out a few skits and then break them down step-by-step so you can learn them yourself for future use. Great ready for fun audience participation!
Birthday Parties — Learn lots of fun routine and theme ideas, plus the tips to help make your business profitable. Clowning is fun; business can be fun, too! Let her show you the way to be a success in something you love.
Children’s Worship Next Sunday?! – So you need something easy to implement into your church program right away, right? Learn some simple presentations which incorporate kid-friendly ways to present the gospel message. You will see how to use your clowning skills in ministry.
Routines You Can Use -Learn routines for all types of performance venues. Rex keeps it simple and easy. It is more than learning how to do a trick, it is about creating a fun routine and patter to go with it. Rex shows you how!
Basic Strolling Magic – Have a gig with no stage? Load up your pockets and get ready for magic on the go! Learn some of the best magic tricks to perform while on the move. Perfect for fairs, picnics, restaurants, outdoors, or anywhere you need portable magic!
Comedy Juggling — So you have the basic skill mastered, but you have no idea how to use your clown character while juggling, right? Learn how to juggle in a funny way, and get more mileage out of this great skill!
How to Clown All Year — Rex will give you the tips you need to transform your existing material into specialty routines for many different occasions, all year ’round, from seasonal events, to holidays, to birthday parties. These are the ideas that will keep them booking you again and again!
My Favorite Everyday Props — You will love this class if you want to laugh, make your own stuff, and stay on a budget! Learn how get the most use out of the most basic clown props.
Kazoo Band Instruments – Okay, so you have a plain plastic kazoo. How are YOU going to make it unique and funny? The Prop shop has oodles of craft supplies to help you create the craziest kazoo horns!
Pool Noodle Props- You will be amazed to discover just how many awesome things can be made from a simple foam pool noodle. With a few tools and craft supplies (and an extra dose of creativity), you can make anything you need!
Cool Clown Props – Terry’s years of experience will prove invaluable when he shows even the most seasoned pros new ideas for building Props for parades, stage shows, or simple walk-around fun. From design, to construction, to presentation – this class will provide tons of ideas and practical applications! Put on your thinking cap!
Props in your Pocket-Make it and Take it! — Get ready for a wild ride! Terry is the king of make-it and take-it, cheap but easy, fun and frolic! We have created the perfect prop workshop, full of supplies, ideas, and expert advice.
How to Rehearse! – This is an invaluable class to anyone cast in the All Star Clown Show. You’ll learn the basics of team-work, blocking, timing, and handling critique.
Slapstick! — Falling down is funny, only if you can get back up! Learn the fundamentals of slapstick comedy from one of the finest in the clown world. Neal will teach the basics of this very physical kind of humor, without damaging your body. You must be physically fit to take this workshop.
(For those of you who want to learn physical comedy WITHOUT falling down, see “Physical Comedy for Every Body Ability” by Christopher Hudert.)
Comic Movement & Character Development – Learn to move like a cartoon! This class is great for clowns of all ages and body types! You will learn how to present yourself like a pro and feel funny doing it. Unlock the mystery with simple, useful ideas that allow you to become the clown character you have always wanted to be!
How to Perform with a Ukelele — Bring your own ukulele. Learn to strum some old favorites and funny new tunes. Your Uke MUST be in tune before the class starts!
Play to a Crowd – Have you ever been asked to “entertain” at a charity event and are not sure what to do? Bonehead shares some of the gags and props that help him engage the crowd. He also will discuss some of the pitfalls to avoid and how to approach the coulrophobic (fear of clowns) child, teenager, adult.
Mad Science with Professor Flutterbuster — Have you been thinking of adding some science experiments to your show or birthday party? Maybe you have even thought of doing a science show. Why don’t you join Prof. Flutterblaster as he demonstrates some cool science experiments that anyone can do? This workshop will also introduce you to where you can get the necessary chemicals and supplies. All chemistry nerds are encouraged to come and add any input they have on the subject.
Caring Clown — From health regulations, to hospital humor, you will get an overview of this difficult yet rewarding type of clowning. This class gives you an inside look — it is a great way to find out if caring clowning is right for you!
Face Painting for Dummies — So you have no artistic ability and think you can’t face paint? WRONG! With a few basic techniques and a “can-do” attitude, Cheri will show you that ANYONE can learn to face paint.
Music and Movement – Using music is a GREAT way to work on your comic movement. Wear comfy clothing and be prepared to groove. You might even get some idea of how to use music in your act!
Storytelling — Clowns are natural storytellers. Whether you memorize a tale, read from a book, act it out with puppets, or incorporate a little magic, you can utilize your clown skills to reach your audience.
My Prop, My Partner – A clown is never alone on stage – as long as they know where to look! In this course, we’ll learn how to turn ANYTHING into the perfect partner. The world will come to life with plenty of characters looking to jump in the ring with you!
Gag Writing Techniques – This is probably the hardest thing for a clown to do; write material. It doesn’t have to be that hard, though! Joshua will teach you techniques he’s used to create material for Cirque du Soleil, Fox, Comedy Central and many more!
Sharing the Stage – Some of our favorite clowns worked in duos or trios, making group work look so easy! We know from experience, it can be hard to translate the ideas in our heads into something that works on the stage. Joshua will help you and your partners to work together in a clear way while also learning techniques that will make you a better partner, no matter who you work with!
LABS and EXTRA FUN STUFF:
New & Improved Prop Lab – We have created the perfect prop workshop! This will be open every day, all day long so you can work at your own pace. We have the supplies, the ideas, and the expert staff to help you create wonderful props. The price is minimal; the experience is fabulous! This year our prop shop will be filled with Make It and Take it props. You will be able to purchase kits with all the needed supplies to make a number of great props, such as: Parade boards, Third-Arm Puppets, and Crazy Clown Kazoo Horns!
Terry Ricketts is the master of props, with his wacky and zany ideas, from using everyday objects to great parade props! His enthusiasm is sure to spark a few great ideas of your own. Terry will be keeping the creativity going in the “New & Improved Prop Lab”, so be sure to check it out and ask him for help on your projects.
Juggling Labs & Balloon Jams – These take place every day at different times and locations. Bring your own balloons, pump, and juggling props. Laugh while you learn from the staff and from each other. Christopher, Dan, Brenda, and Rex will be there to lend a helping hand. Stop in to brush up on skills or start from scratch. Juggling Labs and Balloon Jams are great opportunities to share ideas and pass around tips!
Staff Show – Bring a camera, because this will be your only chance to see the staff in their costumes and makeup. They’ll be performing pieces that will showcase their specialties, plus other crazy fun stuff to entertain you and display all different aspects of the Art of Clowning. It’s a fun way to kick off Moose Camp!
Coffee Chat w/Staff – Every morning before breakfast, you are welcome to get up early and join us in the Blue Room for an informal chat about clowning. Each morning will feature a different team of staff members. You’ll get inspired and learn a lot! Pour a cup of coffee and sit in for this “early bird” special!
Nighttime Chat w/Staff – Every night, we have a cozy little “Story time”, where we invite one or two of our staff to share their experiences in clowning and life. Feel free to ask them any question. This is a rare chance to really get to know our staff in a more personal way. What they choose to do is up to them – we’ve seen everything from puppet shows, to heart-warming tales to inspire you, to strings of jokes that made us laugh until we cried. Sometimes these chats go late, so feel free to come in your PJs!
Good Morning Stretches w/Alumni – Rise and Shine! Nothing gets you in a good mood better than a joyful, pumping heart. Start the day off right and limber up! Moose Camp Alumni will put you through easy and fun stretches to help you get ready for the rest of the day. Low-impact enough for any age; no experience required. Wear comfy clothes and bring a water bottle.
An Evening with Pricilla Mooseburger – This is a special event that is relatively new to the schedule. When Master Clown Frosty Little was on staff, we would feature him putting on his makeup and costume, all the while regaling us with stories of what it was like in Clown Alley on the circus. Since his retirement, we’ve replaced his event with a similar one featuring Pricilla. She has some great stories to tell, some funny, some touching, all inspiring. Bring a camera!
Moose Camp Family Picnic – Since many clowns are asked to participate in or produce an outdoor event for a company picnic or family party, we thought we would give you tons of ideas by hosting our own! Come dressed for the outdoors and enjoy picnic-style food with lots of games and roving entertainment. No costumes necessary. Either sit back and watch the goings-on or jump in and join the festivities.
Patio Party – After your hard-working performance in All Star Clown Show on Saturday, you’ll be hungry and hyper! Jump into comfy clothes (feel free to leave your clown makeup on) and join us on the Mooseland Patio. We’ll be bringing in yummy party foods for you to munch on, and playing lots of fun dance music. It’s the perfect way to unwind with dancing and late-night snacking!
Great American Pie Fight – Greg & Karen DeSanto are masters of the Pie Fight, and we couldn’t pass up the chance to hold a good old-fashioned pie fight. We had such a good time with this event last year, that we wanted to make sure EVERYBODY got a piece of the action this time. So practice your aim and be prepared to get soapy. And hey, you might even learn something!
Late Night Movies – If you’re still not tired by the time the Nighttime Chats with Staff are over, we’ll be showing movies and videos in the Red Mezz. You’ll see Cartoons, Comedy Magic, Circus footage, and Stage & TV Comedians. Come in your pajamas and bring a pillow!
Dealers Room – In the coffee room, you will find all the supplies you need to clown around! See this stuff up close and personal. The staff will be on hand to demonstrate their wares in a low-pressure, hands-on shopping experience. Ask questions and try things on – We want you to “try it before you buy it”! Stock up on needed supplies or make a wish list. Master Card, Visa, Discover Card, travelers’ checks and personal checks may be accepted by most vendors – call them first to verify. The following businesses will be on hand with a variety of products for your clowning delight:
Pricilla Mooseburger Originals – costumes, wigs, accessories, noses, make-up, books
Twin Cities Magic – magic tricks, juggling props, comedy magic supplies, puppets
The Gag Bag – stickers, gags, pocket magic, props, comedy magic supplies
Spears Specialty Clown Shoes – ready-to-wear and custom-designs
DeSanto’s Emporium – From dusty tomes on clown history to rare circus memorabilia, you’ll find a little bit of everything to delight and enlighten.
…and there may be even more still signing up later!