Whose bright idea was it to send clowns to refugee camps?   KIDS, of course!

Yes, children really did invent Clowns Without Borders.


Tortell Poltrona, founder of the Clowns Without Borders movement

This is our story…


In 1993, in a school in Catalan, children were writing to young refugees children from the Yugoslav Wars (1991-1995) who told them they  missed having fun, laughing and playing.  So…the Spanish kids set about raising funds to pay for the local clown, Tortell Poltrona, and his troupe to go to Croatia. Eventually, they raised enough money for the clowns to go on this amazing journey.

The performance in the refugee camp was a huge success and proved to Poltrona that there was a real need to create opportunities for refugee children to come together simply to laugh and play…the rest, as they say, is history.

Today there are Clowns Without Borders chapters in 13 different countries. In 2015 alone we performed 1,00o shows in 43 countries reaching 410,000 children and communities. 365 professional artists, clowns, acrobats and musicians volunteered their skills for free.  That’s a clown for every day of the year.


Who Are We?

Clowns Without Borders UK is run by small administrative team, donating much of their time for free. Our artists also volunteer their time expertise for free.  We are governed by a Board of Trustees

We are governed by a Board of Trustees. They are:

Marion Duggan is an artist, performer and co-director of The Ragroof Players, who specialise in making work with hard to reach audiences. Marion’s interests lie in widening opportunities for people to engage in the arts.

Samantha Holdsworth is a producer, facilitator and theatre-maker. She is the founder of award-winning Nimble Fish in 2006, a leading cultural producing company. Samantha is a Clore Leadership Fellow and Winston Churchill Travel Fellow.

Annabel Morgan is a clown, facilitator and storyteller from Swaziland and Malawi. For the last six years, Annabel has a project coordinator, tour leader and artist for Clowns Without Borders South Africa. She is also founder of Creative Beans in 2008 which develops creative projects for young people and adults with a focus on social and personal transformation.

Cathy Hayward is the founder and managing director of Magenta, an award-winning specialist B2B communications, public relations and content agency for the built environment. She specialises in media and public relations, crisis communications and content marketing to clients in corporate property, architecture and design, workplace and facilities management.