three clowns with red noses look over their shoulders smiling

Summer Session 2021 - From the Neutral Mask To the Red Nose Clown: A Journey of Balance and Imbalance

The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us that life toggles between balance and imbalance. As we take small steps toward reuniting - with our bodies, performance spaces and fellow theatre-makers - join Pig Iron School Faculty Member Emmanuelle Delpech and Pig Iron School alumni Nathan Alford-Tate in exploring the two main reference points of physical theatre: Neutral Mask and Clown.

Move with vigor, move with abandon! Laugh at the absurdity of our world while discovering your own presence. Create original works that speak to the lunacy, beauty and dizzying expansiveness of life on this planet. The workshop will focus on states of balance and imbalance.

The Neutral Mask trains the performer to be ready, available, open, and balanced on the precipice of infinite possibility. As a performer, you will learn to be physically engaged with the immensity of the natural world and in harmony with the rhythms of life. This essential tool will offer you a performance super-power to be simple with a radiating presence.

The Red-Nose Clown trains the performer to arrive with nothing and then to deeply listen, creating new worlds and logics while bringing pandemonium to the stage. The clown’s irreverence and necessity of connecting with the audience will be an utterly refreshing relief to the year+ of isolation, capitalizing on so much pent-up mischief and hi-jinx. The clown’s imbalance speaks to humanity’s imbalance and this workshop will delight in the laughter that emerges in the face of so much uncertainty.

These two weeks will be an adventure into idiocy, absurd logic, comic vulnerability and finding a balanced body that stays upright amidst choppy waters.

Each day will focus on building an ensemble (remember that?), physical virtuosity and precision, improvisation and collective creation.

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 Acrobatic Ensemble workshop. These guidelines are supplementary to any restrictions. However, as of writing, these guidelines are predicated on having less strict guidelines in the future. 

These protocols are written with the assumption that vaccines will be widely available for all participants, instructors and staff. Vaccination will be required for all people who are eligible. 


Monday, August 9th: 9:30am-12:30pm, 1:30pm-3:30pm
Tuesday, August 10th: 9:30am-12:30pm, 1:30pm-3:30pm
Wednesday, August 11th: 9:30am-12:30pm
Thursday, August 12th: 9:30am-12:30pm, 1:30pm-3:30pm
Friday, August 13th: 9:30am-12:30pm, 1:30pm-3:30pm

Monday: August 16th:  9:30am-12:30pm, 1:30pm-3:30pm
Tuesday, August 17th: 9:30am-12:30pm, 1:30pm-3:30pm
Wednesday, August 18th: 9:30am-12:30pm
Thursday, August 19th: 9:30am-12:30pm, 1:30pm-3:30pm
Friday, August 20th: 9:30am-12:30pm, 1:30pm-3:30pm
Saturday, August 21st: 9:30am-12:30pm, 1:30pm-3:30pm

All times listed are US Eastern Daylight Time.


If you are accepted and pay-in-full by June 1, you are eligible for a $150 discount, resulting in a total tuition of $1050.


Emmanuelle Delpech is a theater artist: actor, director and teacher. A native of France, she works and lives in Philadelphia. She was classically trained (text based theater) at the Ecole Superieur d’Art Dramatique de la Ville de Paris and then studied physical theatre at l’Ecole Internationale de Theatre Jacques Lecoq.  She also graduated from Temple University and earned an MFA in Directing. Emmanuelle was a member of Pig Iron Theatre Company for 8 years and was Barrymore nominated for best supporting actress in Hell Meets Henry Halfway and won a Barrymore Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for her work in James Joyce is Dead and So Is Paris. In June/July 2009, Emmanuelle performed with The Second City Chicago in Reverie directed by Dexter Bullard which was premiered at the “Just for Laughs” festival in Montreal.  As an independent artist, she has created and performed Madame Douce-Amere, a wordless clown duet at the 2005 Philadelphia Lives Arts festival, which was also produced by 1812 Productions at the Walnut Street Theatre in October 2006. She received a 2005 City Paper Award for her performance in that show.  In June 2016 she premiered a new solo piece at FringeArts: The Spinning Immigrant, on her experience as an immigrant, using sound devices and DJing. The show was world premiered in June 2016 at Fringe Arts.

Nathan Alford-Tate is an actor and devising artist from Detroit, MI. With a BFA in Theatre from Western Michigan University, he is a proud Pig Iron alum, receiving his MFA in Devised Performance. Since graduation, he has performed with Quintessence Theatre Group, The National Constitution Center, Tribe of Fools and at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. His devised work has premiered in the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. He is currently a company member of Almanac Dance Circus Theatre, where he has assisted in creating and performing in fully devised work that fuses physical theatre and acrobatics.