Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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Clowning around in Coulonge

Eric O’Brien holding free clown workshops as part of youth mental wellness program

Madelaine Methot
Fort Coulonge July 31, 2023
One of the workshops being offered this summer as part of the youth mental wellness program being run in Fort Coulonge features Vinton local and professional clown Eric O’Brien.
As mentioned in an earlier issue, the goal of this project is to give young people in the Pontiac the opportunity to do new fun and creative activities to help them develop new interests and passions.
In an interview with THE EQUITY, Eric said that he was introduced to juggling at the age of 10 through a program at his elementary school. He was quick to learn and mastered every technique he could in his time at the school.
When he moved on to high school, the program was taken over by a new professional clown who heard about Eric’s successes with juggling and invited him back to learn more in a special after school club, eventually taking him on at the age of 14 as an apprentice and later as employee in their clown company. Eric then spent eight years learning from his mentor and mastering the craft of clowning.
After many years in the field, Eric decided he wanted to try a new venture and started working in journalism at CHIP-FM radio in Fort Coulonge, and then CityTv in Ottawa. Though he had discovered a passion for journalism, he missed his years spent doing work as a clown and decided to open his own clown company in 2021, called The Clowns Around.
Eric now performs at events and birthday parties through his company as well as being passionate about passing his passion on to the younger generation in the Pontiac. “It is extremely rewarding to work on a trick with a kid and see them finally get it,” Eric said. He also has found a way to combine his passions for comedy and journalism by writing and recording comical advertisements for CHIP-FM radio.
So far, Eric has held five workshops on balloon artistry, juggling and other clown trade secrets as a part of the free summer workshop series provided by the municipalities of Mansfield and Fort Coulonge.

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