The CoHo Clown Cohort

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About the CoHo Clown Cohort

The CoHo Clown Cohort is a troupe of local funny folx that produce original new works based in clown and physical comedy out of their home base at the CoHo Theatre in Portland, OR.

The CoHo Clown Cohort was established by Philip Cuomo, who passed away in late 2021. Philip was the producing Artistic Director at CoHo from 2012 – 2021, and his passion for clown as an art form led to the founding of the Clown Cohort in 2018. During his time at CoHo, Philip lead the Cohort to develop three full-length productions based in clown that left CoHo audiences delighted and vying for more.

To paraphrase Philip, when society is in turmoil, theater is a place to feel the sting and find the balm. Clown work does that particularly well. The goal of clown is to find profound truth, with a lot of glee, a lot of magic, and a center that’s deeply connected to the human spirit, and the CoHo Clown Cohort carries this sentiment with them in all that they create and do.

Currently regrouping after the pandemic and the loss of their beloved mentor, the Cohort is back behind the creative wheel, developing a new show that is inspired by Philip’s legacy and love for physical humor and clown. Relying on a seasoned, shared vocabulary and utilizing tried and true devising methods to produce provocative new work, the Clown CoHort is hard at work on their latest production of TWISTER; a full-length piece inspired by the 1996 blockbuster film, which will premiere at the 2023 CoHo Clown Festival as a MainStage event.

Leaning on the same creative process Philip brought to the troupe in the past, TWISTER will take audience members on a wild 90 minute ride where the Cohort will explore themes of family, love and loss, chasing dreams, forces of nature, and destruction/rebuilding. As part of their creation strategy, the CoHort often leans on pre-existing source material (like the movie Twister) for inspiration. This particular piece was selected to challenge the Cohort artistically, asking questions of our players like… How do clowns intersect with something both epic and scary? How do we find humor and tender emotion in a traditionally dramatic story? And how in the world do we create a tornado in the theatre?

The CoHo Clown Cohort believes that though it comes in many forms and styles, the essence of clowning is leaving verbal communication behind and leaning into physical comedy instead, transcending language barriers in a dramatic platform for emotionally resonant communication. Committed to bringing together clowns with diverse training/performing backgrounds, and audience members seeking new and adventurous ways to tickle their funny bone, the CoHo Clown Cohort is proud to bring new works like TWISTER to the CoHo Theatre.

Tickets to this World Premiere are on sale now – Book yours today to see the CoHo Clown Cohort in all their resplendent glory during the final weeks of ClownFest 2023!

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Introducing the CoHo Clowns

See the Clown CoHort in Action

In 2020, the CoHo Clowns graced the stage with their hilarious rendition of “Beethoven & Chopin Meet the Bride of Frankenstein.” Catch the archival footage on the CoHo Youtube channel!

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