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Art & Culture Journalism Radio Work

COMEDIC MEDICINE: Professor Examines the Growing Profession of Medical Clowning


“A clown is like an aspirin, only it works twice as fast” — Groucho Marx

This is a short radio piece I wrote and edited for Annenberg Radio News about the profession of Medical Clowning. Dr. Atay Citron visited USC from the University of Haifa where he leads a professional academic training program for medical clowns. Israel leads the way in professionalizing the field of medical clowning and is home to the Dream Doctors, an internationally recognized program started in 2002 that helps integrate clowns into Israeli hospitals.

Citron sat down with a small theater class taught by USC professor Brent Blair. Blair is the founding director of the Center for Theatre of the Oppressed and Applied Theatre Arts in Los Angeles. Theatre of the Oppressed is a form of theater-therapy that aids individuals heal from personal and collective traumas. Blair has practiced Theater of the Oppressed in multiple countries including Rwanda, where he worked with genocide victims.

Using theater as a form of physical, spiritual or emotional therapy seems to be a growing practice internationally. Citron hopes to bring a medical clown training program to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.