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Biography - Francine Côté and her collaborators

Jean Saucier

Clown and Comedy School | Jean Saucier - photo by James Douglas

With 43 years of experience, Jean Saucier is reviving the Clown and Comedy School.

Jean Saucier has been performing since the age of 11, graduated the National Circus School in 1986 and began his professional career with Cirque du Soleil at age 18 in 1985. Jean passionately studies the art of clown and circus with a variety of masters since 1978. Jean has created his own clown shows which have toured across the world and ran his own corporate circus agency for over a decade in Montreal.

In 2021, Jean’s dedication for the clownesque art has driven him to revive The Clown and Comedy School, which was created by Francine Côté and in operation from 2002 to 2018. Currently, Francine Côté is training Jean in her theatrical clown teaching methodology.

Jean is the new director of The Clown and Comedy School and, along with his team of professional artists, will be here to support all who are interested in the art of clown to help this noble profession continue to grow and evolve.

To learn more about Jean Saucier, please review his CV by clicking here

photo - James Douglas

Francine Côté

Clown and Comedy School | Francine Côté - photo by James Douglas

Francine Côté is an award-winning clown, teacher and director with an extensive resume that includes performing with international productions like Cirque du Soleil, Cirkus Benneweis and Luna Cabaret. She has directed performances for companies such as Cirque Éloize and L'Aubergine. She has also taught the art of clown at National Theatre School of Canada, National Circus School, University of Montreal and with École de l'Humour at The Just For Laughs Festival. From 2001 to 2008, Francine was also the artistic director at The Dr. Clown Foundation, developing a therapeutic clown training program for hospitals and secondary care facilities.

In 2002, Francine Côté created The Clown and Comedy School in Montréal, Quebéc, Canada. Based on her 35+ years experience in the creation and performance of comic, physical and clown characters, along with her early training in Paris with Philippe Gaulier and Monica Pagneux, she has developed her own methodology of teaching and directing the art of clown. Her focus has always been about the honesty of the character and the dynamics between the clown partners. All the teachers at the school share her vision and method of teaching.

To learn more about Francine Côté, please review her CV by clicking here

photo - James Douglas

James Keylon

Clown and Comedy School | James Keylon - photo by James Douglas

James Keylon is an award-winning clown, mime, writer and director living in Montréal, Quebéc, Canada. James has over 40+ years experience in mime, clown and theatre. From 1978 thru 1980 he studied in Paris, France at the acclaimed L’Ecole de Mime de Marcel Marceau.

When James moved to Canada, he joined Michel Dallaire’s clown troupe “La Ratatouille” and in 1983 they became the first clown company to work with Cirque du Soleil. In 1989, he returned to le Cirque du Soleil as the ringmaster and clown, working with his partner Benny LeGrand, Wayne Hronek. In 1990, James met her partner in clown and life, Francine Côté. They created their award-winning clown duo “Alfredo et Adrénaline" for the Cirque du Soleil show “Le Cirque Réinventé” in London, England.

In 2008, after decades of creating, performing, producing as well as directing theatrical, cabaret and circus clown performance, he began teaching workshops in mime and movement, slapstick comedy with Roch Jutras and creation laboratories with Francine Côté at The Clown and Comedy School.

To learn more about James Keylon, please review his CV by clicking here

photo - James Douglas

Geneviève St-Denis

Clown and Comedy School | Geneviève St-Denis - photo by Serges Morneau

Geneviève St-Denis’ passion for performing started at a young age when she started training in mime with her father, Claude St-Denis. She trained in ballet, jazz, theatrical mask, clown and bouffon. She graduated from both the Grands Ballets Canadiens and the National Circus School. She has toured the world on theatrical stages and at busker festivals in the clown duo “Gino et Chili” with Daniel Lo Giudice. In 1999 she taught social circus with the Cirque du Monde and Nomadic Arts program of Cirque du Soleil. Geneviève has worked with Oxfam-Québec for 3 years offering programming in Brazil and Cameroon. She is also a resource teacher for the Montreal School Services Center's Educational and Pedagogical Resource Center.

Geneviève St-Denis co-founded the Clown and Comedy School with Francine Côté in 2003. She was the educational coordinator and responsible for registrations with the school. Francine mentored Geneviève in her methodologies for 5 years to become a clown instructor. She was responsible for teaching the Initiation to Clown part 1 and 2 and physical theater at the Clown and Comedy School and is now a consultant for the new director, Jean Saucier.

To learn more about Geneviève St-Denis, please review her CV by clicking here

photo - Serge Morneau

Rock Jutras

Clown and Comedy School | Rock Jutras - photo by Stephan Landry

Roch has played onstage, in the circus ring, on television and in films. After winning the "Student of the Year" Award at the National Circus School in 1985, he joined le Cirque du Soleil for the production of "La Magie Continue", and "Cirque Réinventé" in 1987. In 1992 he toured with Cirkus Knie in Switzerland. The season of 1994-95 he became Cirque Éloize's original clown. In 1998 he worked for Cirque du Monde in Chile teaching young street kids circus skills. In 1999-2001 he was the Artistic Coordinator and toured with le Cirque du Soleil's production of "Dralion".

In 2002, Roch returned to Cirque Éloize as an assistant to the Artistic Director. He also, assisted director Daniele Finzi Pasca from Théâtre Sunil, for the production of "Nomade, la nuit le ciel est plus grand" and "Rain, comme une pluie dans tes yeux". He worked as the Artistic Director on the Cirque Éloize production "TYPO" starring Jamie Atkins.

Since 2003 Roch has worked with clown partner James Keylon in the duo "Alfredo et Rocco". In 2004, the duo worked in the Cabaret "Ganymée on Water" in Düsseldorf, Germany. In 2005 also in collaboration with James Keylon, he designed a new cabaret which played in November and December under the name of "Cabaret du côté Est" and was brought back to life the following year. 2006 brought the announcement of his return to the stage with the troupe L'Aubergine from Quebec City in the role of Rocco the technician for the show "Aaatchoum!" Roch recently returned from Japan where he played the role of the Clown in the Soleil production of Kooza. He is also a consultant for le Cirque who trains the clowns before they go off to their shows. Roch is a trained acrobat and clown, teaches the Slapstick Workshop with James Keylon.

To learn more about Rock Jutras, please review his CV by clicking here

photo - Stephan Landry

Stacey Laureyssens

Clown and Comedy School | Stacey Laureyssens - photo by James Douglas

Stacey Laureyssens is new to the Clown and Comedy School faculty but is no stranger to the clown world. After a decade of working as a make-up artist for fashion, photography, theatre, film and producing burlesque cabarets, in 2013, they had a chance to run away with the circus and joined the office team at Zero Gravity Circus in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and also became the circus' in-house make-up artist and wardrobe stylist. That is where they started taking clown courses and working in clown at the longest-running circus cabaret in Toronto, Lunacy Cabaret. At that time, they also became the lead make-up artist for The Toronto International Circus Festival and The Canadian National Youth Circus.

In late 2014, they started their own family entertainment brand, Empress Cherry Sunday, offering face painting, balloons and clown for events and parties. They worked as program director for TCA Family Entertainers and, in 2016, became the Interim President of Clowns Canada, a 40+ year old organization of family entertainers providing them with services including artist insurance options. Stacey has also worked with the International School for Acting and Creativity, Les Festival des Clowns de Montréal, Meet the Clown Japan, WCA, COAI, Clown Gathering UK, Massimo Agostinelli, Iman Lizarazu and Mark Gindick. Whether they perform as a clown, work as a makeup artist or support Jean at the Clown and Comedy School, Stacey genuinely cares for the artists they interact with and will do their best to help guide those seeking advice.

To learn more about Stacey Laureyssens, please review her CV by clicking here

photo - James Douglas