Imagine a clown and you conjure up a picture of red noses, ridiculous costumes and children’s parties.
This, you would think, is not a profession that requires a great deal of effort. But for performers who take the ability to make people laugh seriously, honing their skills is a matter of huge importance, as is the place where they learn.
This is where Ami Moulton, from Cavendish, who dreams of captivating an audience with her silly antics, has an advantage.
The 21-year-old has just secured a place at École Philippe Gaulier, a clown school in Étampes, just outside Paris, which has a history of sculpting big name acts.
“I love clowning and it is not just because of the red nose,” said Ami, who lives in Peacocks Close.
“I like to make people laugh and allow them to enjoy being silly. I want to bring out the child in people and let them enjoy my stupidity.”
The school was founded by French master clown Philippe Gaulier and uses theatre workshops to help develop the talents of performers. Past students include actors Emma Thompson and Sacha Baron Cohen.
Ami, a former pupil at Sudbury Upper School, applied as she approached the end of her drama and physical theatre degree at St Mary’s University in Twickenham.
“My lecturer suggested it might be a good place to go and I got in,” she said.
“I was part of the amateur dramatics society at uni and Sudbury Upper School was always good at holding theatre workshops.”
Her one-year course begins in October, but first she has to work to raise the money to pay for it – about the cost of a masters degree at £5,000 – and brush up on her French.
“I did French at GCSE, but it is a bit rusty,” said Ami.
“I am definitely going to be taking lessons over the summer and have a tape so I should be able to get by.”
Once that particular hurdle has been passed, it will be a case of embracing the teaching methods of Gaulier and seeing where it takes her.
“I am not sure what I will end up doing, I just want to be able to find my own character and see what happens,” said Ami.
“I am blessed that my family are really supportive and are just excited for me.”