Boston Children’s Hospital
Celebrated the 20th Anniversary of
Big Apple Circus’ Clown Care
at the Patient Entertainment Center at Boston Children’s Hospital on
Friday, April 1, 2016
New York, NY – On Friday, April 1, 2016, Boston Children’s Hospital celebrated the 20th Anniversary of Clown Care® – the flagship community outreach program of Big Apple Circus – at the Patient Entertainment Center (PEC) at Boston Children’s.
The festivities began at 10am with all of the Clown Care “specialists” entertaining families at the PEC while they took part in fun activities including karaoke, tv/radio, arts, crafts, and games. Photos of guests were taken with the Clown Care team by Dr. George Taylor and displayed on video screens. A huge cake with the photo of all the Clown Care professionals was printed on the icing and served to all. Ringmaster Michael Christensen, founder of Clown Care, welcomed the crowd and introduced all members of Boston Children’s Clown Care program. The clowns then took the stage with music, magic, circus skills, and comedy routines. As a grand finale, they played and sang a song in tribute to Boston Children’s Hospital, after which Ringmaster Michael Christensen opened the floor for “Juice Box Toasts”: a grand hurrah to the doctors, patients, staff, and clowns at Boston Children’s.
The event at the PEC concluded at noon, at which time the Clown Doctors, now dressed as special “guest chefs” headed to the cafeteria to serve a very special “circus-themed” cuisine to employees and others. The Clowns then split up into teams and paraded throughout various in-patient units, visiting kids who had not been able to participate in the morning celebration in the PEC.
About Big Apple Circus Clown Care
Clown Care, the signature community outreach program of the Big Apple Circus, brings the joy of classical circus to hospitalized children at 16 leading pediatric facilities across the United States five days a week, 50 weeks a year.
Using juggling, comedy, magic, and music, specially trained “doctors of delight” make “clown rounds:” a parody of medical rounds where the healing power of humor is the chief medical treatment. In partnership with each hospital’s medical staff, these professional performers work one-on-one with acutely and chronically ill children, their parents, and hospital staff to help ease the stress of illness by reintroducing laughter and fun as natural parts of everyday life.
Circus Co-Founder Michael Christensen created the program in 1986 based on his desire to provide a unique service to youngsters undergoing treatment in pediatric facilities.
Currently, 80 committed and talented professional artists conduct clown rounds one to five days a week, year-round, making nearly 225,000 visits to young patients every year. Clown doctors are trained in specific hygienic practices and protocols and in special issues related to interacting with hospitalized children. Performers collaborate with doctors and staff to design a program that fits the needs of each hospital. They visit children in both inpatient and outpatient units, including intensive care, emergency room, physical therapy, bone marrow transplant, pediatric AIDS, and hematology/oncology.
All of the Clown Care doctors are experienced professional artists – not volunteers – with specialties ranging from music to magic. They have auditioned and been selected for their high levels of artistry and sensitivity. All Clown Care performers undergo a rigorous six-month training program in hospital protocol. Regular creative, procedural, and program reviews ensure consistently high quality for all Clown Care doctors.
About Boston Children’s Hospital
Boston Children’s Hospital is home to the world’s largest research enterprise based at a pediatric medical center, where its discoveries have benefited both children and adults since 1869. Boston Children’s research community comprises more than 1,100 scientists, including seven members of the National Academy of Sciences, 11 members of the Institute of Medicine and 10 members of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Founded as a 20-bed hospital for children, Boston Children’s today is a 404-bed comprehensive center for pediatric and adolescent health care. Boston Children’s is also the primary pediatric teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. For more, visit our Vector and Thriving blogs and follow us on our social media channels: @BostonChildrens, @BCH_Innovation, Facebook and YouTube.
About Big Apple Circus
(Will Maitland Weiss, Executive Director; Guillaume Dufresnoy, Artistic Director)
Big Apple Circus is a New York institution with national impact, embraced by generations since co-founders Paul Binder and Michael Christensen brought their juggling act from the streets of Europe home to New York in 1977. The Circus’ mission is to engage the communities we serve through the joy and wonder of classic circus arts. We create direct, shared connections inside our one-ring Big Top AND in hospitals, nursing homes and schools, in our New York City home and in cities across America.
Each year, Big Apple Circus mounts a new show, including new acts, a new theme, and a new creative team. All acts are presented in our traditional single ring, with no seat more than 50 feet from the action, in our climate-controlled Big Top.
At Big Apple Circus, what happens outside the ring is as important as what happens within it: in the coming year, 30,000 low-income families will benefit from tickets to the show through CIRCUS FOR ALL; 225,000 children will be visited by CLOWN CARE® Clown Doctors; 10,000 seniors in residential care facilities will experience the delight of VAUDEVILLE VISITS; 10,000 children and their families will enjoy the CIRCUS OF THE SENSES performances adapted for children with impaired hearing and vision, and those touched by autism; and CIRCUS AFTER SCHOOL will teach 100 children in East Harlem, the Bronx, and Brooklyn how to juggle, walk on stilts, pirouette in the air on silks—and to develop teamwork, commitment, self-confidence, and other life skills. For more information, visit www.bigapplecircus.org.