David is the Founding and Artistic Director of The Clown School.
He trained with Philippe Gaulier – one of the world’s foremost clown teachers – and has been teaching clown, mask, and Commedia dell’Arte for over twenty years since.
David has conducted clown seminars, workshops, and courses at major universities including NYU, UCLA, USC, Cal Arts, and SUNY Purchase, as well as abroad in Melbourne, Beijing, Brazil, Turkey, Vienna, and London, and independently with the Open Fist and Son of Semele theatres in LA, and Studio 5 and the Playback Theatre in New York. He has represented The Clown School as a Clown Specialist on ABC’s Dancing With The Stars, and served as the Commedia dell’Arte and Movement Director for Center Theatre Group’s production of The School of Night by Peter Whelan at the Mark Taper Forum, for which he won an Entertainment Weekly ‘Special Events’ Award, and the adaptor and Movement Specialist for Classic Stage Company’s Dr Faustus in New York. His commedia-inspired choreography for William Friedkin’s production of Ariadne Auf Naxos at Los Angeles Opera was much acclaimed. David’s own clown productions include Abraham & Isaac (with Four Clowns and the Latin American Film Institute, Sao Paulo), Sublimity (at the International Drama Festival in Sao Paulo and the United Solo Festival in New York) and Lunatics and Actors (with Four Clowns), Il Sogno d’Arlecchino (UCLA), Show Business with Quincy Newton (LA), Twelfth Night and The Legend of the Dead Soldier (Franklin Stage), Our Worser Genius (Purchase), The Dispute (UCLA), and Clown Crazy (Central School of Speech and Drama). David’s clown and commedia dell’arte plays I Gelosi and Sublimity are both published by Original Works. The Los Angeles Times writes: “Bridel is the real thing, one of the most inventive, scholarly and vastly challenging voices on the current theatrical scene.”
In 2008, David (along with Orlando Pabotoy) was honored to co-teach a workshop in The Presence of the Clown with David Shiner, one of the great living clowns (Fool Moon, Cirque du Soleil), at the Summer Arts Festival in Fresno. In 2013, David facilitated the visit of Philippe Gaulier to Los Angeles to teach at The Clown School in partnership with Fixt Point of Canada. His new book, Clowns: In Conversation With Modern Masters, featuring interviews with many of the world’s greatest clowns, published by Routledge UK, is available through Amazon.com.
Zach is the co-Artistic Director of The Clown School. He studied theatre at New York University Tisch School of the Arts (Stella Adler Conservatory, Experimental Theater Wing, and ITW in Amsterdam). He has performed original works in various theaters throughout New York including PS 122, Symphony Space, and Dance New Amsterdam. He has studied with Philippe Gaulier and has spent the last five years in Los Angeles studying clown under David Bridel as well as performing with the clown troupe, Four Clowns. LA performing credits include Four Clowns productions Romeo & Juliet (2011 Hollywood Fringe top honors), Lunatics & Actors (written and co-directed by David Bridel along with Jeremy Aluma), and his own multi-award-winning original works, Me Rich You Learn (2013 Hollywood Fringe Best in Physical Theatre, Best World Premiere) and The Kitty Kat Show (both co-written and performed with Adam Carpenter). Most recently, he traveled to Brazil with Four Clowns where taught workshops in clown at the Stanislavsky Institute in Sao Paolo and created a show, Abraham and Isaac, wherein he played Abraham. Abraham and Isaac was performed at MUBE in Sao Paolo.
Along with his work at The Clown School, Zach teaches Physical Theatre at USC’s School of Dramatic Arts and has taught clown and improv at CalArts as well as the UCLA Performing Arts Summer Camp. He appeared regularly on the Disney television show A.N.T. Farm, and has made appearances on Parenthood (NBC), Kath & Kim (NBC), Key & Peele (Comedy Central), and Shameless (Showtime).
Chae is the Administrator for The Clown School. She received her MFA in Acting from the University of Southern California and has studied clowning and Commedia dell'Arte with some of Los Angeles' finest: David Bridel, Zach Steel, Matt Walker, and Virginia Scott. Prior to venturing to the west coast, Chae obtained her BA in Theater Arts from Fairleigh Dickinson University, studied at The William Esper Studio in NYC, and trained across the pond at Wroxton College in England.
Chae has performed with Troubadour Theatre Company's Funky Punks kids clown troupe, the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles, Find the Light, and has acted in several shorts and independent feature films. She has also performed and taught in the Tri-State area with companies such as Writer's Theatre of New Jersey, Luna Stage Theatre Company, and Mystic Vision Players.
In addition to her work with The Clown School, Chae is a working actress and the Administrative Coordinator for USC's MFA Acting program. She is also a teaching apprentice at USC with their MFA movement track, shadowing Andy Robinson's Grotowski work and David Bridel's movement technique.
Phil Burgers aka Dr Brown
Doctor Brown is the stage persona of Phil Burgers, a London-based performer/clown/idiot originally from California. He trained for two years with French Clown Master, Philippe Gaulier and also studied at the Nouveau Clown Institute in Barcelona with the legendary Jango Edwards. His unique critically acclaimed offerings Dr Brown Because (2010) and Doctor Brown Becaves (2011) gained: Top Ten pick of the Fringe 2010; the Malcolm Hardee Award for Most Original Comedy nomination 2010 & 2011; The Sunday Times’ Best Comedy Newcomer 2010; and global sell-out runs. Phil’s show Befrdfgth completed a sell-out Edinburgh Festival Fringe run in 2012, receiving rave reviews and critical accolades, including the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award, the Barry Award from the Melbourne Comedy Festival, and the Total Theatre Innovation Award. More recently, Dr Brown The Bexperiment and Dr Brown Brown Brown Brown Brown and his Singing Tiger have been smash hits at the Edinburgh Festival and the Soho Theatre in London. The Dr Brown Show aired on Channel 4 and he has just completed his pilot Dr Brown for FX. Phil has taught his series of acclaimed clown masterclasses all over the world.
Mike Funt is the Artistic Director of the internationally-touring, multi award-winning clown troupe Four Clowns. Additionally, Funt is a highly-respected and sought after teaching artist who travels the world leading workshops in clown, mask, and circus arts, and has taught workshops in China, India, Japan, and all over the U.S. Funt has directed many shows utilizing his personal brand of physical performance including Servant of Two Masters, a stage adaptation of the 1971 film, Cold Turkey, and his own translation and adaptation of Moliere’s The Imaginary Invalid. Clown training includes work with Philippe Gaulier, Aitor Basauri, Stefan Haves and John Gilkey of Cirque du Soleil, Avner the Eccentric, Aziz Gual, and instructors from Ringling Brothers. He has also studied with play expert Dr. Stuart Brown and trained extensively in Laughter Yoga with Dr. Madan Kataria. He formerly taught at the San Francisco Comedy College and served five years as head of the Theatre Department for the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program.
Virginia Scott teaches Clown, Commedia, Le Jeu, physical acting, and all that kind of wiggling it around at schools such as The Clown School, The Juilliard School (MFA and BFA), USC (MFA), The Idiot Workshops, Tisch School of the Arts at NYU: International Theatre Workshop in Amsterdam, Art of Acting Studio, Pace University, Marymount Manhattan College, The Clown School, The Funny School of Good Acting, Movement Theatre Studio, The Michael Howard Studio, Stella Adler Studio and CAP 21. Shows Virginia has directed and/or devised have appeared in New York at The Irish Repertory Theatre, Ars Nova Mainstage, 59E59, The Zipper Theatre, UCB, The PIT, The Algonquin Theatre, The Broadway Comedy Club, The Barrow Group Theatre, Chasama’s Palace of Variety, The New York Fringe Festival and the International Clown Festival; regionally at The US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, The Theatre at Monmouth in Maine, The Comedy Central Theatre, ISC stage at Griffith Park and UCB LA in Los Angeles, The Dell’Arte School in Blue Lake, CA, and internationally at The Guilded Balloon in Edinburgh, The Centaur Theatre in Montreal and the Grahamstown International Festival in South Africa.
Courtney received her degree in Classical Acting while studying in London, England and is a graduate of the Dell ‘Arte International School of Physical Theatre, where she first studied clown with master clown teacher Sue Morrison. Upon graduation from Dell ‘Arte, Courtney moved to Sweden to study with master clown & mask maker Torbjorn Alstom. Finally returning to her hometown of NYC, she continued her personal exploration of clown under the tutelage of Moshe Cohen of Clowns Without Borders; Ricardo Pucetti of LUME, Brazil; and, again, with her original mentor Sue Morrison, in Toronto, Canada.
Courtney developed her personal clown character, Poofy du Vey, while performing in cabarets and variety nights throughout NYC’s neo-vaudeville scene. From there, she developed Poofy’s full-length solo show, “Burden of Poof”, which won critical praise and a variety of awards including: Best Show (London Fringe), Best Bet (Orlando Fringe), Audience Choice Award (Ottawa Fringe), Funny Face Award (Winnipeg Fringe), and the Encore! Producers’ Award (Hollywood Fringe); she was also nominated for Best Clown at the New York Downtown Clown Festival and Best Comedy at the 2014 Hollywood Fringe.
Since moving to LA, Courtney has worked as an actor, director, producer and casting director for film and TV. She has appeared on Criminal Minds, Grey’s Anatomy, and opposite John Hawkes in his recent feature, “Low Down”. In 2016, you can catch her in the new shows “Colony” (opposite Josh Holloway) and “Heartbreaker”. She also works as an audition coach; her clients can be seen on: American Crime Story, I’m Dying Up Here, Justified, Longmire, Criminal Minds, Grey’s Anatomy, The Mentalist, Parks & Recreation, Glee, Trophy Wife, and a slew of films.
Courtney uses her clown training and experience to perform as an actress in both comedies and dramas, and her teaching approach lends itself to clowns, actors and non-performers alike. Anyone interested in finding the beauty in the ridiculous, while digging into what makes us uniquely vulnerable as perfectly flawed human beings, is a perfect candidate to study clown. Sooooooo, basically everyone.