Clown Doctors Celebrate 20 Years of Service in Czech Hospitals
âWe started 20 years ago with one man, Gary Edwards, a visionary clown and musician.
âHe had the idea of ââbringing joy to hospitals and he started to visit hospitals and joined some people.
âAfter 20 years, having started with a clown and a hospital, we visit 63 hospitals, eight retirement homes and a hospice.
“And we have 86 professional clowns.”
Someone told me that it is quite difficult to become a clown in your organization. How does it work if someone wants to do it?
“Yes it’s true. It’s not easy.
âYou can’t just say, Oh, I wish I was a clown.
âYou have to apply and we have rehearsals – it’s really about interviewing people.
âAnd then we have fairly long workshops. It can be three days and you can see how they can improvise, how they can move, if they are mature people.
âIt’s not just about artistic qualities, but it’s not about trying to save the world, but about being really useful in service in hospitals.
“And after that, for example, 100 people apply and we choose, for example, four.”
Do they tend to be actors? What kind of people usually apply?
âThey don’t have to be actors, but usually they are. They have artistic training.
âMost of them come from universities, the artistic field or musicians.
âBut we also have secondary and kindergarten teachers.
âWe also have an evangelical priest.
Soon we will reach two years of the Covid situation here in the Czech Republic. What about ZdravotnÃ klaun’s visit to Czech hospitals now? What are the conditions now?
âIt’s a difficult time for everyone and we were really grateful to be able to return to the hospital very soon.
âNot only a long-standing cooperation, but the great confidence of the hospitals – and also our very strict hygiene code – helped us to return very early.
âWe’re back from last year in most or all of our hospitals.
âSo you can work at home, but of course it’s not easy, not just for the clowns but especially for the staff.
âWe have also created new programs thanks to or because of the Covid.
âWe offer online tours, so people can order clowns and invite clowns, through online tools, to their homes.
âOr when we couldn’t visit the nursing homes last year, because it was very strict and they were closed, we wrote letters to people in a clownish style, and they responded to us. .
âAnd we’ve had a few Skype visits for them as well.â