A black and white photo of Giovanni Fusetti with pigeons on his head and a red clown nose

Spring 2022: The Sublime Stupidity

UPDATE 2/15/22: Workshops Full - To be added to the Waitlist please email workshops@pigiron.org


Pig Iron School presents Master Clown Teacher Giovanni Fusetti and THE SUBLIME STUPIDITY: THE ACTOR IN SEARCH OF THE CLOWN

Clown is about comic poetry: funny and touching, essential and rigorous. It's a dive into the mystery of laughter.

Deeply rooted in movement-based theatre, Master Clown Teacher Giovanni Fusetti proposes an introduction to the Clown State. The pedagogy focuses in particular on the analysis of the physical and emotional world of each actor, as revealed by their natural body. This will lead to the discovery of a unique clown, with a specific body, tempo, voice, costume, attitudes, emotions, and poetic world.

The journey begins with the exploration and analysis of the body within the theatrical space. In terms of movement, no body is neutral; every body carries profoundly expressive themes, embodied in everyday movement. There is a web of "non-neutral attitudes" and physical and emotional “background noises" within each person’s movement and physical presence. If an actor is observed through the lenses of movement analysis, using the reference point of the Neutral State, this web appears like painting/markings on a white sheet. They are “dramatic” in the etymological sense: they contain a drama – an action.

The use of the smallest mask in the world: the Red Nose, and the amplification and articulation of these very personal themes allow the actor to enter the Clown state. The clown is not a character – it’s first a state of playing where everyone has access to the key question: what is so funny about myself?

To discover one’s own clown is to reveal one’s own unique comic persona and turn it into a universal comic form.

For a performer, there is something fundamental in the discovery of their personal Clown: it's raw, pure, personal, unique, challenging, empowering, revealing, and extremely rewarding... It’s the exquisite pleasure of touching the empty space of complete comedy.

As a theatre style, Clown has a unique poetic potential because it allows the performer to explore and play with the naiveté and the vulnerability of the child, and with the rigor and the technique of the adult, thus revealing the poetry of the ridiculous, and a unique personal poetic power.


  • Play, action/reaction and fun
  • The Red Nose as a mask: amplification and articulation of movement
  • The clown as a state of being on stage
  • The empty space
  • Emotional awareness and contact with the emotional body of the actor
  • Contact with the audience
  • Playing with space
  • The relationship among clowns: hierarchy, leaders and servants, levels of stupidity
  • The Circus Clown Archetypes: Augustus, White Clown, Monsieur Loyal

Giovanni Fusetti will be visiting Pig Iron to provide weeks of training for Pig Iron students currently enrolled in the program as well as a workshop open for alums and for the public at large.



All sessions held at the Pig Iron School,
1417 N. 2nd St. Philadelphia, PA 19122


  • Saturday, February 26 and Sunday, February 27
    • 10:00am - 5:00pm each day (with one hour lunch)
  • NOTE: This workshop is intended for adults age 20 and above. Performance experience isn't required but a willingness to take risks and to laugh at human failure is a must.



  • March 8 - 11
    • 6:00 - 9:30pm each day
  • March 12 & 13
    • 10:00am - 5:00pm each day (with one hour lunch)
  • NOTE: This workshop is intended for adults age 20 and above. Performance experience isn't required but a willingness to take risks and to laugh at human failure is a must.




Artist, Natural Scientist and Pedagogue, Giovanni Fusetti is a multi-disciplinary fool.
He encountered pedagogy and social theatre while receiving his MA in Agriculture and Ecology at the University of Padova (1985-1989).  This encounter led to a pedagogic and artistic search that has been unfolding for over 25 years.

After attending a variety of workshops and projects involving Mime, Puppets, Street Theatre, Theatre of the Oppressed and Clown, he trained at the École International de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq (1992-1994), where he subsequently returned to follow the pedagogic training and the L.E.M. (Laboratoire d'Etude du Mouvement), after which he was invited by Jacques Lecoq to teach improvisation.  While in Paris, Giovanni also trained in Gestalt at the Ecole Parisienne de Gestalt (1992-1999).

After the death of Jacques Lecoq in 1999, he returned to Padua to co-found Kiklos Teatro, alongside Paola Coletto. This was an international theatre center devoted to theatre creation and pedagogy. Here Giovanni directed the Scuola Internazionale di Creazione KIKLOS for five years, developing the vision of a school rooted in tradition, and free to create and re-create new poetic paths.

After the end of the Kiklos experience in 2004, Giovanni Fusetti continued to work around the globe as a teacher and director, during an artistic journey that led him to work with leading theatre companies, universities, schools and training centers. He has been invited to teach and lecture at numerous places including: LISPA (London International School of Performing Arts), Dell'Arte School of Physical Theatre (Blue Lake, California), Accademia Teatrale Veneta (Venice), The University of LondonRosegarden Theatre House (Norway), Naropa University (Boulder, Colorado), Centre Generation Tao (Paris), Princeton UniversityUniversity of AucklandAuckland UnitecToi Wakhaari / New Zealand Drama School and the Boulder Circus Center (USA), where he has been teaching a summer intensive training on Red Nose clown over the last 10 years.

After these traveling years, the urge to reopening a long-term training process led Giovanni to settle in Florence, Tuscany in 2010, becoming the Founding Director of HELIKOS International School of Theatre Creation. At Helikos Giovanni is the pedagogical director and the core teacher in the professional training program, and he teaches Movement Analysis, Improvisation, Theatre Creation and the PAPAS atelier (Personal Awareness Process in Altered States).
As a performer, Giovanni has explored movement-based theatre creation with various companies including Circo CrappoTeatro OsvaldoThe Clod Ensemble (London), Tre Magi TeatroIl Triangelo, and Larven Teatro. He has worked as movement coach and assistant director internationally, including for the Commedia dell'Arte company Pantakin da Venezia, and has collaborated with Pig Iron Theatre Company in Phildelphia (US) as trainer and devising consultant. He has directed and co-written clown shows with former students and alumni.

Currently Giovanni focuses mainly on pedagogic practice and research and is deeply grateful to all the masters and teachers who have opened the path before him. His 25 years of pedagogical research include training and practice in Theatre in Education, Conflict Resolution, Augusto Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed, Gestalt, Reichian Bioenergetics and Process Work.

Since the beginnings of his quest, Giovanni has been integrating in his pedagogy, movement-based theatre with different practices of physical and emotional awareness, in particular GestaltReichian Analysis and Process Work, as well as his background in Natural Sciences and Ecology.  His desire is to explore the ancient vision of theatre as a way to ecstasy.

Alongside his pedagogic work in training professional theatre artists, Giovanni has worked with children of all ages, homeless persons, activists, teachers, therapists, hospital clowns and human beings in research, using theatre as a pedagogic paradigm of personal healing and poetic awakenings. Red Nose Clown holds a special space in his heart and work: Giovanni is passionate about midwifing clowns, and he has coached hundreds of clowns into existence in many countries of the world, both in professional artistic trainings and in processes of healing through clown (Tao of Clown, Clown and Gestalt, Transanalyse).

Trained Permaculture Designer and amateur gardener, he seeks to be fully alive while on this powerful, fragile, and beautiful planet.





Pig Iron is committed to following all federal, state and local guidance and restrictions. This document (also linked at the bottom of the page) lays out the protocols and procedures that Pig Iron will follow for the Sublime Stupid workshop. These guidelines are supplementary to any restrictions. 

Vaccination will be required for all people who are eligible. We also ask that prior to the workshop, everyone should get tested and bring their negative test results to the workshop along with their vaccination card. Upon arrival on the first day of the workshop, Pig Iron will rapid test all participants before entry. Masks required except during individual red nose clown work 20 feet away from the audience.