• NEA Grant | Clown Conservatory | Circus Center
  • Welcome-Clown-Con_copy2


Applications for next year's Clown Conservatory program are now being accepted on a rolling basis. Click here to learn more.


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.

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 and circus professionals from around the world.

Come get profoundly ridiculous.

"One of the top clown schools in the U.S."




Human Cartoon: The Art of Elastic
Performance Knockabout & Slapstick
Narrative Clowning
Classic Entrees, Gags & Lazzis
Neutral Mask
Juggling & Object Manipulation
Overall Circus Skills
Acrobatics for The Clown
Precision Idiocy: Micro-Crafting Physical Comedy
History of Clowns: Stand-Up & Fall-Down
Eccentric Dance
Character Morphing
Inanimate Comedy: Props, Gadgets & Machines
Symphonic Clowning: Music & Physical Comedy
Silent Film
And More Surprises...

Humanities-based readings & video watch list, allowing Conservatory students to explore themes & ideas accompanying each project and class.


Dominique Jando:
Classic Clown Entrees
Judy Finelli: International Clown History
Leticia Bartlett: Neutral Mask & Mime
Barry Lubin: The Character Clown
Jordan Nance: Mindfulness
Ross Travis: Bouffon


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 11 – December 7, 2018
Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays from 9 AM to 4 PM + Studio hours.

Second Session:
 January 8 – April 1, 2019
Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays from 9 AM to 4 PM + Studio hours.


Tuition: $6,000 + Volunteer hours (scholarships & work-study arrangements available)
Applications accepted on a rolling basis.


Please submit the following:

  • One cover letter

  • One headshot (or current photo) and resume

  • A 2-minute video of your funniest self, via link or DVD

  • Answer the Proust questionnaire

Application materials may be emailed to: 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

“I have seen many of Sara Moore's solo performances, often going well out of my way to do so. It’s worth it. She is fearless and utterly engaging in performance, combining physical dexterity, blazing intelligence, vocal acrobatics and mind-boggling juxtapositions to create comedic alchemy. Her pieces have the irresistible combination of being both utterly unique and completely recognizable. She is unquestionably on a par with all the great clowns; I believe it is only a matter of a very short time before a great many people know this. “

-   Michael Butler, Artistic Director of Center Rep at The Lesher center For The Arts

"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, ClownCon 2017 Graduate

“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: