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Holly Stoppit

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Listed as: Dramaturg, Education/Training, Director

holly [at]

07894 015 937

39a Southey Street
South West
comedy, clown, music, dramatherapist, director

"Holly Stoppit...has the expressive eyes of Wallace’s Gromit and the physicality of Buffy the Vampire Slayer." - The Stage, April 2010

Holly grew up in a traveling circus-theatre family. She's trained extensively in clowning, fooling, mime, acrobatics, physical theatre, improvisation, forum theatre, voice work, movement, laughter yoga, mindfulness and dramatherapy. Holly forged a wonderfully ecclectic career as a performer, before focussing on directing for devised performance. 

Over the last 8 years, Holly has established herself as an independent theatre-skills teacher, specialising in Clown and improvisation. Holly has:

  • Taught weekly Clown classes for adults at the Bristol Folk House, City Of Bristol College and Hamilton House. 
  • Designed and facilitated various weekend clown workshops for adults (including Introduction to Clown, Clown and Story, Clown and Music, Clown and Objects, Clowning to Performance and Fooling)
  • Designed and facilitated clown workshops for children and young people through The Egg Theatre in Bath, Characters in Bradford-On-Avon, Traveling Light in Bristol and SGS college.
  • Designed and facilitated site-specific theatre and games theatre workshops for Eden Court Theatre, Inverness and Forest of The Imagination in Bath. 
  • Provided Clown Consultancy for Theatr Genedlaethol's "Yr Storm" and "Pridd", Nofit State Circus' "Noodles" and The Fabularium's "Town Band of Bremen".
  • Provided bespoke training and mentoring in collaborative devising for Broken Dream's "The Act"
  • Provided away-day training for Triodos Bank and Exeter Business School.

Holly's workshops offer opportunities for learning new approaches to improvisation and devising whilst also providing space for self-development, through exploring the states of play and flow, cultivating curiosity, developing presence and releasing joy. Holly's workshops are available to book and can travel to anywhere in the world. 

Holly graduated in 2013 with an MA in Dramatherapy. Her dissertation research focussed on combining clown skills training with dramatherapy for adults with mental health issues. The result was Clown-o-therapy. She has since delivered Clown-o-therapy masterclasses to students at The SouthWest School of Dramatherapy, The University of The Highlands, The University of Winchester, NICE conference and The London Speciality School of Psychiatry Conference. 

Holly is open to offers of teaching, directing, facilitating and consultancy. Holly's skills include:

*clowning / fooling / comedy 

*story-making / dramaturgy

*developing characters                                     

*improvisation  / storytelling techniques                                           

*physical theatre / movement techniques 

*interactive theatre techniques                        

*laughter yoga  

*mindful play                                                       

*integrating live music into performance                    

*integrating circus / dance  / music into narrative performance      

*making work for non-theatre spaces (Street, Site Specific)               

*Instillation / walkabout performance                        

*Facilitating research and development

*Dissolving blocks in creative process



What the people say:

“Fun, crazy, but educational… it felt really safe and easy”

“Silly, technical, freeing, hilarious, liberating, useful, fun, BRILLIANT!!”

“It’s all a bit of a hysterical blur”

“I loved it, and it was amazing how you managed to put everyone at ease and help us all get so much out of it. It has been brilliant for me both personally and professionally. I'm much more confident using humour and energy in my job, and so much better at engaging with my audience - very important when training and teaching potentially dry subjects. I'm also managing to be more creative for myself, and roll with the punches. You made the learning so enjoyable and easy I didn't notice I was doing it”

"Holly has a wonderful way of bringing a group of strangers together where they can play in a totally safe environment free from judgement.  She frees inhibitions and so helps her clowns to shine.  I felt a sense of expansion and excitement for the future when I left her workshop.  Like she had opened a window, I felt the sun and breeze on my skin.  I just want to climb through.... " 

“Holly’s session helped us to release some inhibitions, use a more creative part of our brain and enjoy being together.” - Bevis Watts, Triodos Bank

Forthcoming Classes

Inner Critic Inquiry - 8 week course Facilitated by Holly Stoppit 19 Oct 07 Dec

Venue: Bristol Improv Theatre
Full Price: £240
Concession Price: £200

Holly_flop_square_thumb This 8-week course from dramatherapist and performance trainer Holly Stoppit will help you release the grip of your inner critic, through drama, writing and art. Are you plague...

Inner Critic Inquiry - 8 week course Facilitated by Holly Stoppit 19 Oct 07 Dec

Venue: Bristol Improv Theatre
Full Price: £240
Concession Price: £200

Holly_flop_square_thumb This 8-week course from dramatherapist and performance trainer Holly Stoppit will help you release the grip of your inner critic, through drama, writing and art. Are you plague...

Key Projects

Facilitator / director Educircation Social Circus Project

For one week, 20 Social circus teachers from all over Europe came together in Bristol to learn skills in presence, connection and relating through undergoing a week in Clown-o-Therapy. I developed Clown-o-therapy through my masters training in Dramatherapy. It mixes together clown skills training and dramatherapy to offer a unique exploration of the self in relation to others. Each afternoon, the teachers had a chance to practice their improved skills in presence, connection and relating whilst facilitating 20 young people from Felix Road Adventure Playground through a circus-theatre devising process, culminating in a public show.

Clown Consultant for 'Pridd' Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru

I took the role of Clown Consultant for Pridd, a Welsh language one man show written by Aled Jones Williams and directed by Sara Lloyd. "Pridd" is about a character called Handy Al, a washed up children's entertainer who's holding on to the last fragments of his life. I came in throughout the process to work on the clowning, building routines and instructing on audience contact.


Clown-o-therapy was the result of my masters dissertation research. It mixes together clown skills training and dramatherapy to offer opportunities to explore the self in relation to others.

Director / facilitator- Ed Rapley's 'The Self Trilogy'

Ed Rapley is a solo performer. His work combines improvisation, stand-up, storytelling, multiple personae, risk and revelation. The Self Trilogy consists of 3 solo shows, '10 Ways To Die On Stage', 'The Middle Bit' and 'Who Knows Where'.

Director / workshop leader "Too Excited To Sleep"

Holly provided performance skills classes to somewhere in the region of 50 community members who attend the regular circus skills training classes at Nofit State. Through these sessions the group collectively found a premise for the Christmas Cabaret before setting to work making acts combining circus skills, character work, story and comedy. They presented their Cabaret, "Too Excited To Sleep" to a sold out audience at the training space in Cardiff.

Creative Consultant / Director- Carny Ville, May 2009, October 2010

Carny Ville is a unique and dynamic performance extravaganza, set in the old Bristol Police and Fire station complex, currently known as The Island, and managed by Artspace Lifespace in partnership with Urban Splash. This salubrious spectacle consists of a variety of raucous stages, sideshows and bizarre spaces, bursting with music, magic, intrigue, dancing, circus, theatre, and celebration..

Research Facilitator- Behind Closed Doors

"Behind Closed Doors" was funded by S.I.T.E (Space, Ideas, Time, Expertise courtesy of The Tobacco Factory and Theatre Bristol). This R&D explored ways of creating a site-specific one-to-one hero's journey through the Bridewell police cells. For this project, Holly co-led with Sarah Fielding of The Invisible Circus.

Research Facilitator- "Wonderpods"

"Wonderpods" was funded by Arts Council Wales and was a multi sensory art instillation with live performance and music for babies and toddlers. For this project, Holly collaborated with Sarah Smith of Yipee Productions.

Clown teacher / Director of Boomchucka Circus show (Circus To Palestine)

Circus To Palestine travels around Palestine, performing their show and facilitating circus workshops for children.

Drama worker / soundscape designer- Weston Super Nightmare

Weston Super Nightmare was an interactive games project for teenagers in Weston Super Mare. Slingshot, Bristol's interesting games fanatics dreamed this one up. A week of workshops in site-specific performance, set making, costume making and sound design produced this amazing horror-themed games experience for other teenagers to play.

Front Woman- Yupknuckle

Yupknuckle was a 10 piece wonder-orchestra of wonky misfits. They travelled and played together for two and a half years. They had a lovely time. And so did the audiences.

Performer/deviser/director- The Honk Project

I toured studio theatres and village halls with 'To Have and To Honk', a musical clown show for family audiences. More recently I have returned to The Honk Project to re-work "Mr Honk and His Sad Trombone" for the street and facilitate the Creation of a new musical clown walkabout "Rag and Bone".

Co-founder- Ramshacklicious Theatre Company

Ramshacklicious makes subversive, funny, musical theatre for non-theatre spaces. I have performed, produced, directed and facilitated R&D for Ramshacklicious since it's birth in 2006. I recently designed and delivered workshops for people with Schizophrenia, depression and anxiety, which ran alongside the company's creation of "Grime".