New Bedford Clown School Teaches Essential Performance Lessons

Elaine Vercellone, a.k.a "Daisy D. Dots," (C), with her friends Paula "Stickers," and Pam "Lollipop" Bacher. Photo: Courtesy Elaine Vercellone

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Though clowning around is the main draw to being a professional clown, one school in New Bedford emphasizes the importance of taking a step back and viewing the world from a child's perspective.

Classes at The Smile Factory on Hatch Street cover different kinds of clowning, such as Whiteface clowns and Auguste clowns.

"First we teach them the different types of clowns and how they would dress. There's a lot to learn with clowning — so that you don't scare people. Anybody can put on a nose and say they're a clown, but boy have I learned, you really need to have the expertise so that you do it in the right way," said Owner and Founder of TSF, Elaine Vercellone.

Vercellone, a.k.a "Daisy D. Dots," as her clown's name, has been in the profession for 35 years, and said that a good clown waits for kids to approach them with an adult and would never hand out candy. She said you never know if a child is diabetic or allergic.

After meeting Mr. Rogers at the hospital where her son was being treated for cancer, Vercellone said she was inspired by Rogers to become a clown. To teach clown classes, The Smile Factory is equipped with costumes, makeup stations, puppets, and marionettes.

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"If you learn to live in the moment and see the world through a child's eyes again — it makes everything so much easier. There are no rich clowns —they're rich in heart if they do it right," Vercellone said.

WBZ's Suzanne Sausville (@wbzSausville) reports.

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