Clown Alley

What is a Clown Alley? It's a group, a chapter, a gang, a troupe, a crowd... of clowns! I think you get the picture. If you belong to a bunch of clowns that meet regularly, we either have you in our directory or we want you there!

The term 'Clown Alley'
has two possible originations.

In the circus, clowns had a special section in the tent where performers dressed for their acts because powdering their make-up could be messy. This section was typically nearest to the side of the tent in order for the clowns duck underneath the canvas to powder their make-up outside.

Because the "powdering" section was the farthest from the opening to the main tent, it was also the darkest. The darkness outside and the tent wall along the side gave the appearance of an alley, so it came to be called "clown alley." Before long, the clowns who gathered here to powder were called by the same name.

During the show, if there were problems with the rigging or an injury, the clowns came in to perform until they were ready to continue the show. It is said that the traditional signal for an acrobat to go on to begin his act was to yell “Allez Oop” (pronounced Alley Oop). When the director wanted the clowns to enter, the circus director would shout, “Clowns Allez!” which meant, “Clowns Go!”

After a while, the troupe of clowns came to be known as the “Clown Alley” and the area where they would wait between performances also adopted this name.

Today’s clowns use RV’s and motor homes to dress and apply make-up, so the historical dressing area no longer exists. Hence the term is used for any organized group of clowns, whether or not they are affiliated with a circus or carnival.

Find out more about clown alleys here.

Joining an Alley
will provide many benefits to your clowning future:
the credibility (and referrals) that come from association with other clowns, opportunities to learn more about your craft and increase your skill level, and the joy of networking with other clowns!

For more information contact:

World Clown Association
Andy or Jennifer
PO BOX 12215
Merrillville, IN 46410
Phone: (800) 336-7922


Clowns of America International

Box 6468,
Lee's Summit, MO 64064-6468 USA

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