Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Sabine Choucair

Clown me in. Clown without border. In devastated Mar Mkhayel in Beirut

This is Mar Mkhayel area where most of the bars, restaurants and beautiful old houses/ buildings got completely destroyed.

After a parade that was positively welcomed by the many workers fixing houses, NGO people sitting on the side of the roads assisting people and by the few locals who didn’t leave their homes ( with the exception of one guy who was fixing his shop and who looked at us with a terrible facial expression and said: “are you really seriously happy and festive? “

We ended up performing here ( pic below)

To my left there’s one of the few still standing pubs on the side of the road.

To my right there’s the Main Street with a lot of destruction everywhere and a “listening station” where an NGO has its psychologists waiting to listen to people who want to talk.

Behind me there was this 45 year old big tall man, who was watching quietly and crying.

At the end he approached us, asked us how long we have been rehearsing and preparing this. He said it was the most beautiful thing he’d seen since the explosion And a much needed thing.

He decided to follow us the following day and watch the show again in a different area

In front of me, hidden behind the audience was this woman in her 40s who was sitting with a psychologist and talking.

When we went into the bus to leave, the psy ran and asked me to come down and take a pic with the woman. “You made her day” she said, and she “wanted to take a picture to keep remembering this precious moment”.

I wouldn’t give the artistic side of our show a 5 star review but what we offer is silly, is fun and most importantly it’s real, it’s all about connection, love and laughter.

We, adults, need it more than anyone else.

We forgot how to play, how to be joyful.

We have gone through a lot and we need to learn how to connect with each other again and mostly we need to rebuild better memories.

Hurray to this man and to this lady who were open enough to connect, to appreciate the moment and to rebuild memories
#diariesofaclown Clown Me In Payasos Sin Fronteras / Pallassos Sense Fronteres / Clowns Without Borders Hisham A. Assaad Ghalya Saab Stephanie Sotiry Sally Souraya Samer Sarkis Feras Hatem

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If available, shouldn’t women who feel to want to drive be given a couple practical sessions?

Therapist friends and others: bear this long status and share your opinion!

Clown me in team did a project assigned by an international organisation in lebanon.

The trainers worked with a group of women following a social therapy and art based pss program.

In this process, and specifically at the end ( last session or two) the participants get to choose a project they’d like to do that would be meaningful and that would make them happy. In a way, they get to decide for themselves what could be helpful for their mental health and “problems” they are facing.

They decided they want to learn how to drive, because their husbands or family in general never thought that women should drive.

The International organisation refused to give the permission and their arguments were:
1- security ( understandable Of Course with what was happening in that area )
2- they said one session of learning how to drive would not teach women how to drive so it’s useless. Also women don’t even have cars so why should they bother anyway.
3- they also said this is a beginning not an end of a project. They wanted closure and they wanted it to be at their center.

Now I argued endlessly with them on point two and three! I was so furious actually especially that they are supposed to be an organisation focused on mental health and psychosocial support.

Today they even sent us corrections of our final reports still stressing on those points.

Pls tell me if I am wrong in arguing that since the project is sthg those women really wanted then at least its process and effect are way more important than the “now I know how to drive” result.

And beginnings are always more interesting than ends! Aren’t they?

Let me know what you think
Love to the team on the project Cown Me In Sara Berjawi Viveva Letemps Abir FAkhryl

Note: I lean toward the conjecture that many women are just curious: one or two sessions will show them how far they are willing to resume driving for real. Otherwise, this handicap will follow them for life, as no more support will come forward.

Clown me in? Touring the refugees camps for a few hours of laughter?

Happy holidays, everyone! We made this video as part of the We Must Clown project last year, but it’s probably even more relevant now!


Year-End Fundraiser of GlobalGiving – Consider an end-of-year donation. Many of you may have already heard about our successful GlobalGiving campaign, which, thanks to YOUR help, guaranteed us a permanent spot on the platform.

Due to the campaign’s success, we have extended our fundraiser to be part of GG’s Year-End campaign, which makes us eligible for different rewards and donation-matching initiatives.

If you would like to donate to our campaign and help us keep clowning, click here!

Help us reach our goal!
IIVVSS – The first semester at the International Institute for Very Very Serious Studies is almost over! Despite a few weeks of classes that we suspended to hit the streets together, the students are back to work with full energy and loads of ideas with their amazing teachers. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook to see what they’re up to!
IIVVSS Expressive Masks classes
Clowning through the Revolution – We’ve been a part of the Lebanese uprising since October 17th, taking part in the protests as clowns, as well as performing for the protesters (although it seems our politicians have been trying to compete with us).
We also gave a free workshop with Giovanni Fusetti this weekend, open to any caring citizen wishing to explore the connection between theatre and political, social and environmental action, both on an intellectual level and in an experimental playful way.
The day was one of play and creativity, using a series of games, collective exercises, brainstorming and group activity.
From the Beirut protests. Photo by Nadim Kamel


Barcelona  –  We were invited to perform at the La Mercè Festival in Barcelona this September, where Beirut was chosen as the guest city.
Not only did we get to perform for a totally new audience, but it was also our first time performing as a group outside Lebanon. Read more about it on our blog!

Clown Me In The House! –  After years (literally, it’s been 12 years since we started), we finally have a place to call our own and store all our really weird stuff!

The new location is supported by Sintraco, who offered us the space, and Fondation Sesam and Drosos, who partially funded the furnishing of the interior.
Not only is this our new rehearsal space, but it’s also the IIVVSS classroom. We also want to take a moment to thank the Golf Club of Lebanon again, for generously hosting us throughout the last months before we settled.

Sabine Choucair wins the Il Clown Nel Cuore Award in Italy  –  Our founder, Sabine Choucair, became the first female clown to win this award at the Clown&Clown Festival in Monte San Giusto in Italy for her humanitarian relief work, at a ceremony attended by over 10,000 people! Watch the video here.

CRC  –  Our new touring project, Celebrating the Rights of Children, was a huge success! We performed for over 3,360 people around the country and had them participate in games and activities that were both fun and educational.

These same artists have been working as trainers and facilitators in their home countries, and have trained over 300 women and teens in these fields.
And we couldn’t be prouder of the amazing job they’ve been doing! This project is in collaboration with CWB Sweden, the Palestinian Circus School and Al Balad Theatre, Jordan. Funded by The Folke Barnadotte Academy.

Day 8 performance of Clowns without borders

I don’t usually like to share many pictures per post but really every single one of them is worth it.

We performed for the Roma community last night in a beautiful village in #Romania and it was one of a kind experience. the first time in my 12 years of clowning that I have heard people laughing that much and enjoying every single second.

U know these comedy shows where they add extra laughter after every single act? Well it was even more than that.

This community is a group of people who know how and when to have fun, love music, love dancing and love to laugh despite their harsh life. They are free, loud and very at ease with their bodies.

That little kid with this white suit 🙂 he was so intelligent, so sharp and so sweet. Laughing when he should have and wanted to. Playing along when needed and observing well the details of the show.

That girl with beautiful eyes, didn’t stop going back and forth at the end of the show to give us big big hugs. She was wild, happy and so alive that she could give energy to the whole world and still have some for herself.

And that old lady, the oldest in the pics, with a beautiful flowery scarf on the head well apparently she was their leader of the community.

What a leader. What a community. What a life time experience.

Tonight I slept in a different gypsy village where in a bit we will be performing with our host ( who’s a kick ass gypsy musician ) in yet another gypsy town in #Romania with Clowns Without Borders USA David Lichtenstein Dustin J Allen Jeroen Wils Clown Me In #diariesofaclown#thebalkanroute
Photos by: #AliJDalloul

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Day 7 of performances:  Clown without borders in the Balkan refugee camps

Day 7 of performances:
One workshop and a performance for around 200 people or so. It was beautiful in general, the performances got a lot of laughs and people kept coming and coming.

What struck me the most today are these two kids. One of them was barely two years old, u can see her in one of the pics. She was the most playful one, the one who made everyone dance and the one who was always doing her own thing and living in her own special world.

Oh… how I wished I could be in her world and certainly didn’t want her to come to our world.

The second boy had a harsher story. Him, he was 14 years old, acting like a 20 year old in an old hotel right by the Croatian border, filled with people from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and even one from Lebanon.

The kid is from Afghanistan, he left home two years ago, when he was 12. He left alone and he is still alone.

All through the show he was happy, laughing out loud but wanting to act like an adult. I couldn’t help but wonder about this 14 year old boy, in his green shirt, and the so many scars he had on his head from all the beating he went through on borders, living this kind of life, having to bear dealing with adults and mafias and police, living the life of an adult when he’s just a kid.

Just waiting to be free and waiting to help his parents flee the country.

Today I feel so humbled to be able to share joy and laughter with him – today I can only think of one thing: this kid deserves to be happy and playing, for whatever reason, this kid shouldn’t be going through that.
#diariesofaclown David Lichtenstein Dustin J Allen Clowns Without Borders USA Clown Me In #serbia #croatia #europe Jeroen Wils

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Day 4 of performances of Clowns Without Borders in the Balkan refugee camps

Day 4 of performances. Our last day in Bosnia, in Kosovo specifically, where people are preparing themselves to go to the borders. Many of them don’t know that they will be stopped by the police mid way and left on the side of the road.

At least this awesome woman Sanella Lepirica and her father are trying their best to find a way to help. ( check her out if u want to help)

We performed again for many men and some kids. Those kids oh my god they just laughed non stop and enjoyed it all big time. They enjoyed all of our small silly stupid jokes, that’s not bad for a final day lesson

After that we played at the train station with Roma community. They hooped and span balls for a whole hour without getting bored or tired. That’s also not a bad lesson to learn from kids. Be silly, laugh when u can and enjoy the tiniest actions in life. Thank you kids.

Off to the forests of #serbia. I wonder what’s waiting for us there.
&David Lichtenstein Dustin J Allen Clowns Without Borders USA Clown Me In #diariesofaclown

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Clowns Without Borders in the #Balkans and #Bosnia

Day 3 of performances in the #Balkans. In #Bosnia. Only men around.

It was sunny outside but very quiet. The police wanted to look at all of our clown gears, rubber chicken, noisy pigs, hoops, juggling balls, lassos … everything.

We were greeted with formal serious police faces. When we entered the big building, few smiles and laughs erupted but darkness, damp and a smell of rotten souls was covering the place.

In this dark alley, us clowns were the only colorful thing. I was walking and feeling the heaviness of the space despite the smiles around. In no time we gathered a group of 500 men and a handful of kids and women.

We kept performing for an hour and a half. The longest show so far. Every time we were about to end the show, a feeling inside told us we should keep going.

These men were caught in forests and sent to this place despite their will. It was only fair to share more and to offer a bit of joy. Two Syrians afterwards told me that they were actually kidnapped in Kosovo and have been in that place for the past 9 months.

One guy on a wheelchair had rotten feet ( can’t take this image out of my head). Images of misery on all sides. But we were there, Hassan too, an Iranian guitar player joined and played some songs, audience participation made a big positive difference.

We left with heavy hearts, but also with a bit of joy of being able to share some laughs and joy and a small hope that spring is arriving and maybe just maybe some of those will eventually make it and reach the dream land, away from war and oppression.

Thankfully I am with David Lichtenstein who was unstoppable today and Dustin J Allen who kept going despite his injury from that big fall on the ground.

On the way out, a girl was so happy to see me. She said : “ heyyy I know u 🙂 we met in Greece last year”.
Maybe next I’ll meet her in her dream land and hopefully she will still recognize me.

Clowns Without Borders USA
Clown Me In #diariesofaclown
Photo by: Jeroen Wils

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Immigrant kids playing “game of crossing borders” every night


Sabine Choucair with her group of clowns David Lichtenstein Dustin J Allen Clowns Without Borders USA Jeroen Wils Clown Me In #diariesofaclown Naomi Shafer Nicole Gladstone have been touring the refugee camps all over the world, every camps they were allowed to visit, in Europe, Greece, Germany, Serbia, the Balkans, Italy and even Myanmar… This her her latest post.

Day 2 of performances in the Balkans. Already performed for 200 men on our first day and it was yet again a reminder that clowning is for all ages.

The show was a huge success, big laughs and a lot of happy faces enjoying the meaningful honest moments of interaction.

On that day, on the way out, met a little 3 year old kid who was amazed by the small tiniest bubbles, he had a big red blue(ish) scar on the left side of his face. I asked his Syrian mother where did this come from and she said “oh yesterday he fell when we were doing the *game*. 

Game is the name they give to their act of crossing the borders. They go to “game” every other night or so.
Today it all made sense.

After performing for the wildest kids ever, they gathered around us and one of the most talkative ones started playing the *game. She had such a strong character and was a brilliant storyteller. With all her power and loud voice she started acting their game of last night.

All kids running around the playground, following her – (their leader)- then boom she shouts …POLICE POLICE. All kids fall on the ground and become quiet, hiding.

Then off again running around then she shouts again POLICE POLICE … all kids to the ground, quiet! Then they get caught by the police.

She continues the story: “ then they put us in this closed van! No windows, very crazy roads. We started vomiting, they didn’t stop. They just kept driving and sent us back to this camp in Bosnia.

This is when all made sense to me. we had just performed for those kids who were between 4 and 12 years old and who last night and all previous nights for the past 5 months at least were caught by the police and sent back to the camps. Most of them come from Syria and Iraq. Some from Iran  (Algeria and Afghanistan).

“Your countries are safe now” they were told. “Go back to where u came from”.

I left with mixed feelings of extreme happiness and extreme sadness. We got to play with them, to learn the importance of play, of laughter and of resilience but also we got to learn once again about the cruelty of us humans.

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Are the slums of Egypt any worse than other slums in the world?

 posted on FB this July 25, 2013:

I spent 15 days in Egypt during the month of June.

I initially went to volunteer with Al Mawred in the slums of Cairo and more precisely in Istabl Antar and Ezbet khayrallah area!
The kids! and the slums !
when i first got there i couldn’t help but wonder if they were any worse than the Indian slums!
oO the Brazilian ones!
At least people in Istabl Antar are productive (something that is rare to find in other slums i visited)

The kids! and the slums !

On the way, from the mini bus window
First picture i took upon my arrival
They are all looking for a 2nd 3rd or 4th wife!  Anyone interested? they asked me to post their picture!!!!

Then i started working with kids on different themes. mainly we focused a lot on animals! bodies, voices, attitudes etc…

when we all met in the big theatre space, the only way to get their attention was to mime and clown around!
and to tell them stories from the “flower’s garden” repertoire which they enjoyed very much!  pic by: Halim Al Chaarani
These are candles that he would like to have so he can get rid of darkness at night when there’s no electricity and when his father is away!
our goodbyes
ClownMe In and Sabine Choucair shared a link.

Are the slums of Egypt any worse than other slums in the world? | Sabine Choucair


Clowns without Borders in Serbia refugee camps

March 8th, Serbia – #balkan road-

That day, we took the ferry, then the dirt road, then drove for couple more hours to get to a forest where some young and older men have spent the last months or year or two of their lives trying to cross the borders! we performed in the middle of nowhere, in a forest, under the roof of an abandoned building where these guys spend their nights when it is cold!

on the way out, I was clowning around and asked one guy for his papers!
” which ones? would you like my serbian passport? my Bulgarian one? or my Afghani one? I have all of them scanned and ready!! he replied with a smile on his face and a lot of anger and sadness in his eyes.
Justin Therrien Bekah Hammond Clowns Without Borders USA Jeroen Wils Photos by: Ali Dalloul

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A quick follow up to the March 5th post.

Apparently, we got a good reputation in the #balkans and we received a last minute permit to perform at the Subotica camp.
I didn’t even have to come up with an undercover clown costume.

Check the video to see Aya’s reaction when she saw the picture of her best friend from the other camp!
During the show, and before I showed her anything or even knew which one she was, she volunteered to come on stage and play with me. She looked at me and introduced herself ” hello, my name is Aya”!!!!

I think we should give the clowns more missions in this world!
#clowns #without #borders!
Clowns Without Borders USA Justin Therrien Bekah Hammond Molly Rose
Photo and video by : Ali Dalloul

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May 2023

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