Frequently Asked Questions
- Being a Clown Doctor is not like any other gig...even if you have performed in hospitals before. It is, however, immensely rewarding. A high level of performing skills is a prerequisite. Our Clown Doctors specialise in different areas - magic, puppetry, music, storytelling, mime etc...and come from differing performing backgrounds.
- A good Clown Doctor Unit is one where the performers' skills complement each other. Even if you are a highly skilled performer, this does not necessarily mean you will be a good Clown Doctor. Excellent improvisation skills and exceptional people skills are also needed.
- Clown Doctors need to be able to relate not only to children, but also to adult patients, families and staff. The personal qualities we look for include: empathy, sensitivity, warmth, caring, good judgment, responsibility, commitment, and being a team player...and of course, being funny! Clown Doctors work from the heart...costume and make-up alone do not make you a Clown.
- Performers need an ABN, public liability insurance and a 'Working with Children' check. Income protection insurance is advisable. Unfortunately, due to the high level of skill involved, we are unable to accept volunteer Clown Doctors.
- Performers must undergo a thorough audition and selection process. The Foundation provides ongoing support and professional development to ensure that Clown Doctors are well-nourished professionally and are able to perform to the best of their ability. All programs are supported by a rigorous quality assurance process, including regular reviews with host hospitals to ensure the service is meeting the needs of the hospital.
- The Humour Foundation is a charity dedicated to promoting and delivering the health benefits of humour.
- The Humour Foundation is a public company, limited by guarantee. It is a Public Benevolent Institution with DGR status.
- Donations over $2 are tax deductible.
- Clown DoctorsTM is the core program delivered by The Humour Foundation.
- Elder ClownsTM is a new pilot program delivered by The Humour Foundation and aims to improve the quality of life of residents in aged care facilities.
- Laughter WorksTM and Laughter BossTM are educational programs of talks and workshops for the health and welfare sector and other corporate or community groups.
- Clown Doctors are professional performers selected for their high level of skills as well as their personal qualities such as sensitivity and caring.
- Clown Doctors are excellent at improvisation and Clown, and have other skills such music, magic, mime, puppetry and balloon sculpting.
- They are trained by The Humour Foundation to work in the sensitive hospital setting.
- The Humour Foundation provides state based, on-going training in performance skills and hospital issues, and holds an annual conference for all the Clown Doctors from around Australia to help them gain professional development.
- Click here to meet your local Clown Doctor team.
- Clown Doctors are hosted by all major children’s hospitals around Australia, and some general hospitals and hospices.
- As part of the Outreach program, they also visit regional and metro hospitals and aged care facilities.
- No, none of the hospitals we visit pay for Clown Doctors; we provide our service free of charge to them. We keep our program 'operating' solely on the generous support of donors.
- Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick
- The Children's Hospital at Westmead
- Bear Cottage, Manly
- John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle
- Lismore Base Hospital
- Royal North Shore Hospital
- Alice Springs Hospital
- Royal Darwin Hospital
- Royal Children's Hospital, Herston
- Gold Coast Hospital
- The Women & Children's Hospital, Adelaide
- Flinders Medical Centre
- Royal Hobart Hospital
- North West Hospital, Burnie
- Launceston General Hospital
- Royal Children's Hospital, Parkville
- Monash Medical Centre
- The Northern Hospital
- Princess Margaret Hospital, Perth
- Fremantle Hospital
- As part of the outreach program, Clown Doctors make one-off or regular visits to other hospitals when funding is available.
- Clown Doctors parody the hospital routine to help children adapt to hospital life. Clown Doctors improvise, and work with each child’s interests or needs.
- They can divert children during procedures, calm children in emergency and encourage children in physiotherapy. They work in partnership with health professionals.
- While Doctors do their ward rounds, Clown Doctors do Clown Rounds; Doctors look at what’s wrong with the child, Clown Doctors look at what’s right, celebrating their health and happiness. The whole hospital community benefits - patients, families and staff.
- They visit children at the bedside and involve them and their families. While children are encouraged to participate, some prefer to observe. Clown Doctors work as a duo, so kids are doused with a double dose of fun each time they see us.
- Clown Doctors ask children’s permission, either verbally or non-verbally, to enter their room or bedside space, helping to return a sense of control to the child at a time when they can feel frightened or scared.
- Clown Doctors visit all wards, including burns, oncology, emergency and intensive care, and of course the corridors, lifts and foyers.
- Clown Doctors attend to the psycho-social needs of children in hospital.
- International research has found that laughter has both physiological and psychological benefits.
- Doses of humour help relieve fear and stress and help recovery.
- T cells and serum cortisol levels are lowered, thus boosting the immune system.
- Muscles are relaxed and the cardiovascular system and respiratory system benefit. It is possible that endorphins reduce pain.
- Click here to hear from patients, parents and staff about how much Clown Doctors have helped them.
- Clown Doctors work with each person’s situation and interests, and adults benefit from Clown Doctors as much as children. We treat all carbon life forms.
- Currently the 55 Clown Doctors around Australia make a difference to about 100 000 people a year.
- You can call or join up online. To sponsor a Clown Doctor you will need to commit to a monthly donation of $25 payable by credit card or direct debit. Click here to find out more about monthly Clown Doctor sponsorship.
- Your donation goes directly towards keeping Clown Doctors at the bedside of sick children in hospital. Every year The Humour Foundation needs to continuously fundraise (we call it FUN-raising) enough money to maintain the Clown Rounds we have operating. Our aim is to be able to provide Clown Doctors in all major children’s hospitals around Australia seven days a week. Your monthly donation allows us to keep the Clown Doctors doing their rounds, and funding permitting, increase the number of Clown Rounds that we provide.
- Yes, all money donated to The Humour Foundation for Clown Doctors goes towards keeping Clown Doctors at the bedside of sick children in Australia. We do not send any of your money overseas.
- Yes, all donations of $2 and over are tax deductible.