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.
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.