Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College History

 Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College® was started in 1968 by Feld Entertainment® founder Irvin Feld to preserve the ancient and honorable art of clowning. Since its inception nearly 1,300 people have received diplomas with graduates touring with The Greatest Show On Earth®, performing on stage, in film and in other areas of the performing arts. Ringling Bros. Clown College alumni originate from 9 countries and 44 states domestically.

With its structured program teaching character development, athletics, physical and verbal comedy, the art of clowning has been codified with the legacy of Ringling Bros. Clown College, as is seen by the many books, videos, seminars, youth circus programs and clown-related businesses across the country - many of which have been started, staffed and inspired by proud alumni.

Part of the great heritage of Ringling Bros. Clown College includes events such as Smiles Across America (where all alumni did some clown type of clown performance in their local area where they live, all during one given week), the Clown College Convoy (alumni doing shows at major stops along the cross country route from Venice FL to Baraboo WI when locations changed for the 1993-1995 classes).

With a fixed establishment being run from 1968 to 1997, Ringling Bros. Clown College has been conducted in four venues during its history- at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Winter Quarters in Venice, FL; at Circus World Museum in Baraboo, WI; at the Opera House in Sarasota, FL; and in Japan. Since 1998, Ringling Bros. Clown College continues to reach many students of clowning through educational programs and seminars held in many cities across the country and for those employees fortunate enough to tour with The Greatest Show On Earth®, on the traveling units themselves.

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