The first International Conference on Medicine and Medical Clowning was held last week in Jerusalem.
Medical clowning, which combines theater performance with drama therapy and elements of nursing, has grown in popularity in recent years to become a worldwide phenomenon, as evidenced by the scores of participants who flocked to Jerusalem from France, Canada, Brazil, Australia, the United States, and all over Israel.
Interestingly, the approach of Israel’s Dream Doctors program is to view performance not simply as entertainment, but as a component of care.
The Dream Doctors are professional theater artists, with years of performing experience in Israel and around the world, who have combined their talents with rigorous medical training. Haifa’s academic program in medical clowning, founded by Professor Atay Citron in 2006, merges courses in improvisation and physical theater with principles from psychology and medicine.
“I’m interested in theater that changes reality, that heals individuals, communities,” says Citron. “Theater not as a reflection on reality, not as pure entertainment, but a proactive tool—something that works.”