Past Festivals – 2020

Fool Around Online 2020

Our festival ran Sept 24-27, but with the time-travelling magic of the interwebs, you can still browse most of suite of sweet digital and socially-distanced delights. We do our best to screen all linked content. Read our disclaimer.

Can you spare a dime?

Play the Fool Festival is run by artists, for artists. Your donation will help us offer affordable, accessible programming into 2021.



Play the Fool Short Film Competition

Free Films available for on-demand viewing.

Play the Fool Festival Short Film Competition invited filmmakers, clowns, and physical comedians to submit their short films, maximum… read more 

Click Here to Watch the Films


Panel Discussion

Meredith Gordon - Squeeze The Clown
Sat Sep 26 4:00pm
100 minutes Free Online Captioned live-stream recording.

Culture, Identity and Clowning: A BIPoC Artist Conversation

Six (6) diverse Black, Indigenous, and Clowns of Colour from across North-America gather to talk about working in a white-dominated culture. Read about the panellists…

A recording of the Livestream is available on both YouTube and Fringe TV:

Click Here to Watch on YouTube 

Click Here to Watch on Fringe TV

Signal Boost

Uncle Junior Project

United States

“It’s about moving past the limited vision that society has for you, and stepping into the talent and skill you know you have.”

Danise Payne
All Ages Donations Encouraged Included as part of our Signal Boost program. Please donate directly to The Uncle Junior Project

The Uncle Junior Project is a community-driven digital exhibit celebrating the history of Black people in the American circus. It honors the achievements of the many extraordinary individuals and groups in the African-American circus community, including clowns.

We at Play the Fool suggest you start with the documentaries about the extraordinary clowns Danise Payne and Onionhead.

Don’t forget to sign up for their free membership, donate directly, and check out the exhibit store.

Signal Boost

ABC (Anything But COVID)

Liverpool, United Kingdom

“It's like nothing you have seen before, or will see again unless you re-visit an Ugly Bucket production”

North West End
9 min 16+ Pay what you can, watch on demand Included as part of our Signal Boost program. PWYC prices are in British Pound Sterling. All proceeds go to HOME Manchester. Requires free registration.

Ugly Bucket Theatre

A short film commissioned by HOME Manchester. Watch the trailer.

Ugly Bucket is an award winning physical comedy company based in Liverpool. We’re serious about silliness, and combine clowning, music and verbatim to tackle taboo topics head on… read more


Signal Boost

The Morro and Jasp Tour: A Short Documentary

Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Morro and Jasp

“[Of Mice and Morro and Jasp] is funny and sweet, but it also cleverly skewered an underfunded theatre scene whose obsession with classics can make it tolerate old prejudices.”

The Globe and Mail
33 min All ages Free Included as part of our Signal Boost program.

Up Your Nose and In Your Toes Productions (U.N.I.T)

Heather Marie Annis and Amy Lee of Morro and Jasp tour their show Of Mice and Morro and Jasp to high schools. This documentary film is the behind the scenes take of all the highs and… read more.

Click Here to Watch The Morro and Jasp Tour 

Signal Boost

Folk Lordz

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada /Treaty 6 territory
Folk Lordz

“Second place winners, 2017 Comedy Shorts competition for 'The Statue'.”

Just For Laughs North West

“Official Selection for 'Mandatory Curriculum'.”

Toronto SketchFest Film Festival
Free - Like and Subscribe Included as part of our Signal Boost program.

Folk Lordz

Political, absurd, and darkly hilarious, the Folk Lordz digital sketch series is a bold new addition to the Canadian comedy landscape. Reflecting urban-Indigenous, immigrant, and activist perspectives through the lens of biting satire… read more

Signal Boost

New(to)Town Collective Clown Party

Vancouver, B.C., Canada
13 min All Ages Free Included as part of our Signal Boost program.

a film from New(to)Town Collective

Anjela Magpantay, Avyen von Waldenburg, June Fukumura, and Davey Caulderon

4 Clowns in the time of Covid Journey through nature and sanitation. Riddled with danger signs and love. A full circle equals POOF! New(to)Town Collective facilitates (currently) online theatre/clown/character classes by donation. We want to keep the community warm in offering a space to practice the Work together.

New(to)Town Collective works on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish Peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

Signal Boost


Edmonton, Alberta, Canada / Treaty 6 territory

“Between them, this ensemble of artists has too many accolades and awards to count. Trust me, I tried.”

Christine Lesiak
67 mins 14+ $10 Included as part of our Signal Boost program. All proceeds paid directly to Guys In Disguise.

Guys In Disguise

An audio drag show written by Darrin Hagen and Trevor Schmidt. Available on-demand.

Virginia Hymen (Trevor Schmidt) has received a cryptic invitation to visit Castle Dragula… read more

WARNING: Contains shocking innuendo, mature, immature, and outrageously campy content.

Signal Boost

The Telethon-a-thon

International cast
Calgary Clown Festival
Sat Sep 26 2:00pm
40 mins PG 13 Free Included as part of our Signal Boost program.

The Calgary Clown Society

The Calgary Clown Society’s 88th annual telethon-a-thon. A fake fundraiser to support future fake fundraisers. more…

The Livestream recording:

Click Here to Watch on Facebook

Click Here to Watch on YouTube

Features an international cast, with performers from Edmonton, Calgary, U.K., and the U.S.A.

Check back here on Saturday Sept 26th for the link to this event.

Signal Boost


Edmonton, Alberta, Canada/Treaty 6 Territory

“...perfectly debonaire...”

The Edmonton Journal

“ of the funniest and entertaining shows we're ever had”

Marla Welk, Carlton Park
10-30 min all ages $50-$500 Included as part of our Signal Boost program. All bookings and fees directly through Circus-To-Go.

The Great Balanzo

Order a show like a pizza! Do you want a fast 10 min fire show or a  30 min circus comedy show?

An award-winning juggler who has performed in 13 countries around the world and is in Edmonton ready to perform for your socially distanced private event whatever it is. He’s entertained kids and families on YTV, at award-winning Children’s Festivals, and at hundreds of schools across Canada – it’s obvious why the Great Balanzo is one of the country’s top circus personalities.

Book Circus-To-Go

The Wise Fool – a documentary by Geraldine Carr

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada/Treaty 6 Territory

“[this film makes me] have a crush on myself!”

Jan Henderson
Sat Sep 26 3:00pm
31 min All Ages Free This is a time-restricted screening. Film will NOT be available for on-demand viewing.

Laughing is a Lifetime Achievement

Sooner or later everyone plays the fool. Meet Jan Henderson – director, educator, clown extraordinaire, saving the world one red nose at a time. For over 40 years Jan has led countless students on a magical, inspirational journey to release their inner clown waiting in the wings.  Hear Jan’s story and why she believes clowns emerge when the oft-cruel world needs them most, to entertain and gift their audiences with hope, truth, love and compassion.

Sadly, this event is over.

To book a future screening of The Wise Fool at your festival or event, please contact