Richard Pochinko was a theatre visionary from Manitoba. He drew his influence from many sources, traditional and otherwise. I have no doubt that Carl Jung’s work figured in his approach to theatre, but it always evolved towards clown. His greatest legacy is the Clown Through Mask Workshop, affectionately known as the Baby Clown Workshop as the participant’s clown is born at the end. This work evolved from work with neutral mask, through the creation of 1, then 3, then finally the 6 masks of the Baby Clown Workshop.
Richard was deeply involved in theatre from his mid-teens until his early death at 42. I studied with him for the last two years he was alive including several clown workshops and experiments as well as being directed by him in the Dario Fo play “Elizabeth, Almost by Chance a Woman”.
Apart from being an inspired experimenter and compassionate and non-judgemental teacher, Richard instilled in us the belief that a clown can do anything. While studying his Clown Through Mask workshop my clown partner Michael Kennard and I were encouraged by Richard to get on the boards as soon as possible. 3 months later on Friday the 13th of May, 1988, Mump & Smoot did their first performance, a 20-minute piece “Jump the Gun”. We continued to study with Richard, his brilliant partner Ian Wallace (Nion), and resident choreographer Fiona Griffiths (movement genius). After Richard died Ian eventually left Toronto, leaving no one teaching the work. I then began teaching Clown Through Mask in 1991 after two Fringe Festival hit tours and having our second show “Caged” being picked up for an Off-Broadway run at the Astor Place Theatre.
Since 1991 Michael and I have developed numerous workshops founded on the original Clown Through Mask Workshop and thousands of hours with thousands of artists in classes and creation work through to live performances of professional pieces.