• Clown walking out of closet with pie | Clown Conservatory | Circus Center
  • Clown walking out of closet scared | Circus Center | Clown Conservatory
  • Clown laughing and getting in a closet | Clown Conservatory | Circus Center


Clown Conservatory is a multidisciplinary training program in physical comedy and human cartooning. This 24-week full-time training program is a tilt-a-whirl of character creation and narrative clowning where the conjuring of solo, duo and ensemble work culminates in showcases for Ring, Stage and Film. Our program’s directive is to foster the super versatile Human Cartoon. Every great Clown needs a foundation of precision idiocy on which to build a house of compelling characters, stories and skills. Circus Center’s Clown Conservatory provides a buoyant, collaborative space for the poet in action.

Come get profoundly ridiculous.



Human Cartoon: The Art of Elastic Performance 
Knockabout & Slapstick
Narrative Clowning/Silent Storytelling 
Classic Entrees, Gags & Lazzis 
Neutral Mask
Voice & Character
Solo Work 
Juggling & Object Manipulation 
Acrobatics for The Clown
Movement & Gesture
Precision Idiocy: Micro-Crafting Physical Comedy 
History of Comedy: Stand-Up & Fall-Down
Circus History
History of Vaudeville & Burlesque
Eccentric Dance
Ensemble Clowning
Clown Technique: From LeCoq & Gaulier to Williams & Winters 
Character Morphing 
Silent Film Acting
American Sign Language (ASL)

Humanities-based readings & curriculum, including classic and modern texts, allowing Conservatory students to explore themes & ideas accompanying each project and class.

The second half of the Clown Conservatory is dedicated to combining solo, duo/trio, and ensemble clowning work into a full-length show called The Supers. Graduating students will perform alongside professional members of Clown Alley, the Conservatory's resident performing company.


Weekly Master Classes in a variety of disciplines from international circus, theatre and film professionals. 


Clown Alley

Resident professional performing company of Clown Conservatory.

Funny Bones

Healing outreach program primarily focused on performances for the elderly and housebound. 

Led by Boss Clown Sara Moore, Clown Conservatory features a rotating all-star faculty, including Clown Conservatory alumnae themselves and star clowns & performers from Cirque Du Soleil, The Pickle Family Circus, Big Apple Circus and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, as well as circus historians and independent theatre, film, music & circus professionals from around the world.


Clown Conservatory Director Sara Moore | Circus Center

Sara Moore brings to the leadership of the Conservatory over three decades of experience as a performer, writer, director, and teacher. Her substantial body of creative work covers the full spectrum of clowning and spans multiple media, including the big top, film, Off-Broadway theaters, casinos, and outdoor venues.

Moore has created, directed, and performed material for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, The Krofft Puppets, Royal Caribbean International, Tropicana Hotels and Resorts, The New Pickle Circus, Six Flags Show Productions, and Merv Griffin’s Resorts Casino and Hotels, among others. She also wrote, directed, and co-produced the independent feature film “Homo Heights” starring Quentin Crisp, which is widely considered a cult classic today. Her recent solo show, Show Ho, has earned critical and popular acclaim through several sold-out runs.


The Clown Conservatory is a 24-week program in 2 sessions.

First Session:
September 13 - December 9, 2016.
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, 9 AM-3 PM & Fridays, 9AM - 12PM.

SHOWCASE PERFORMANCES: Saturday December 10th at 8 PM | Sunday December 11th at 2 PM.

Second Session:
January 11 - April 1, 2017
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thurs | 9AM - 4PM

GRADUATION & FINAL SHOW (THE SUPERS): Friday, March 30 - Sunday, April 9.

Tuition: $6,000 (scholarships & work-study arrangements available)
Deadline for submissions: Applications accepted on a rolling basis for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 sessions

Please submit these four items:

  • One cover letter telling us about yourself & why Clowning is of interest to you.

  • One letter of recommendation from a teacher, mentor or entertainment professional, singing your praises!
  • Please provide us with a 2-minute video, accessible via link or by sending a DVD. Show us something blaringly idiotic, please, not necessarily something audience-ready! If you happen to be in the Bay Area over the winter you may audition “live” at Circus Center.
  • Please answer the Proust questionnaire provided.

Application materials may be sent electronically at: or by mail at 
Circus Center | Clown Conservatory Applicant | 755 Frederick Street, San Francisco, CA 94117.

Clown admiring pie | Clown Conservatory | Circus Center
Clown protecting pie | Clown Conservatory | Circus Center
Clown about to taste pie | Clown Conservatory | Circus Center



“Quite truly one of the funniest, most ridiculously delicious humans I’ve ever encountered AND she is the hardest working clown in show business!”

– Merv Griffin, Entertainer, Game Show Creator & Entertainment Mogul

"Terrifyingly bright and verbal. Moore is a thoroughly post-modern mix of weird characters, funny voices, bizarre situations, a quirky theatrical synthesis of her idols, influences, and inspirations. Imagine Fanny Brice meets: Daffy Duck, Lucille Ball, Lily Tomlin, Laurie Anderson, Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell, Carol Burnett, David Bowie, Lewis Carroll...” 

– The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Sara Moore is simply the greatest thing to have happened to me. She taught a clowning master class when I was 19 years old, and within those three hours she had given me the key to unlock the door to The Silly inside, and helped me train it and use it to the fullest. She has the wild passion and intense drive of a mad fisherman chasing a whale. She laughs from within the depths of her soul when you do something right, and she willingly and lovingly hands you wings when you are afraid to fly. Her truthful love for all things silly is inspiring, and her reckless abandon for creative expression is nothing short of threateningly astounding."

– Molly Kate Taylor, Former Student

“Moore is the consummate performer, never lingering too long on tragedy or comedy to bore us, always entertaining us—even when we are crying. Comic Kung Fu is a pretty good analogy.”

– NYTheatre

Unused Content: