With the improvement in textiles,
the costumes have become more brilliant in colors and are much
more durable. Greasepaint is down to a science and the application
is down to an art. But still today, the skills weigh heavily
in a clowns repertoire.
A new clown
character has arrived on the scene, the female clown.
Before the late 1970s, clowns were taught that they should look
neutral in gender
not look like girls. History does not
record women in clowning until 1858 then only a handful are mentioned.
The first female clown was
Amelia Butler who toured with the Nixons Great American
We have a gap in history and
the next female clown is mentioned in 1939, Lulu.
Lulu was an English clown who was billed as The
only woman clown in the world by the Ringling Brothers
and Barnum and Bailey Circus. She was the wife of a clown which
gave her entrance into the clowning art. Rose Hamlon and Amelia
Adler were also married to clowns and clowned with their husbands.
Amelia was the last women clown in the American circus for almost
Peggy Williams, in 1970 graduated
from the Ringling Brothers Clown College. Peggy was not
married to a clown but a woman clown in her own right. Her presents
in the circus was the catalyst that was needed to encourage other
women to get involved with the art of clowning. Even with the
females in clowning, you rarely saw a female in a dress. Clowns
were taught that they should look neutral in gender
to look like women.
In the late 1970s, a few bold
women took the leap developing a truly feminine clown. With petticoats
and bloomers, women have taken a front line in the art of clowning,
creating a truly new character of their on, the female clown
character. Women now constitute a large majority of the professional