Michelle Brandenburg

Michelle Brandenburg

Artist finds magic through authenticity, connection and freedom within structure

A long-standing member of Calgary’s arts community, Michelle Brandenburg is an actor, clown, director, and educator and lead facilitator at Inside Out Theatre. The opportunity to create, collaborate and explore with a diverse cross-section of artists inspires and influences her work in ways she never imagined when starting out 20 years ago. Being trained as a clown, Brandenburg recognizes that clowning shapes artists in a unique way.

“There is something about folks who study clowning (and) move it into the various areas of their artistic practice that creates this sense of wonder that I find unmatched to anything. There is this intrinsic idea of being honest… and having fun that really just opens up the possibilities of creation that I feel sometimes get lost in traditional theatrical practice and in a traditional theatrical setting….

“There is this magic and this electricity that can occur in non-traditional spaces with non-traditional practices with humans who are not afraid to just bare it all…. A lot of the work that I have had the privilege of being a part of over the last decade has really allowed me to remove a lot of my preconceived notions of what the practice of theatrical and performance creation should be and look towards what it could be.”

Brandenburg looks at performance and, specifically, clowning as a way to not only create, but to include. “One of the things from my clown practice that I’ve really been able to bring into every aspect of my artistic practice is there is always some sort of structure. But being able to be free within that structure is often what makes the most magic. At Inside Out we have a term that we use a fair bit — belongingship, so that idea of truly creating a ship where everybody belongs.”

Tune into this week’s Storytelling Podcast to learn more about Michelle Brandenburg and how her work in clowning informs everything else she does.

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