Clown Doctors New Zealand

We bring JOY & LAUGHTER to the children in hospitals, LIFT the SPIRITS of people in need and contribute to making our society more HEARTFELT & HUMOROUS  

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Our Clown Doctors 



Photo: Patrick Bellett

Clown Doctors are not actually ‘real’ doctors but experienced actors, drama teachers, performing artists and musicians who are highly trained in the art of medical clowning - and will receive further certification, starting with the first module of academic education in Medical Clowning in February 2013.

With all their artistic skills, gags, tricks, improvisation talent and special hospital training, the Clown Doctors are well equipped to take on the challenging task of conquering fear and gloominess. From bedside to bedside, these specially trained masters of humour and spontaneous play help to bring back fun, cheer and a refreshing zest for life. 

We are fully aware that each of our talented Clown Doctors contributes with his/her skills and is responsible for the success of our mission in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington, as well as the development of the entire organisation nationwide.

Our Clown Doctors encourage joy & laughter - a profound key to regaining balance and being able to cope with the difficult situations.

Auckland Team


Aaron Ward Dr. Funny Bone

Aaron started clowning as "Cheeseburger the Clown" when he was 18 and continued to make use of his skills to help pay his way through drama school until he graduated in 1996 .With his second clown “Elvo” (the letters of love jumbled up), he spent 2 months in Montenegro and Kosovo entertaining the displaced people during the Balkan war in 1999. Supported by World Vision, Aaron shifted arenas to spread joy and bring some relief through laughter in refugee camps, orphanages, hospitals and other initiatives.

Aaron extended his tour of duty in collaboration with the UN, Unicef and World Vision teaching children about the dangers of landmines, booby traps and UXOs. He returned to Kosovo in 2000 to film a documentary with TVNZ and then went on to perform at the refugee camps of Bosnia and the World Expo in Germany. In 2005 he was based in Banda Aceh in Indonesia for 2 months following the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami. He was awarded the Special Service Medal by the New Zealand Government for this.

In 2006 he performed for the people in Lebanon following the bombing from Israel. In 2007 Aaron was New Zealand’s nomination for the JCI (TOYP) The Outstanding Young Persons of the World Program in which he finished in the top 30.

Over the years Aaron has also been a guest speaker at World Vision Conferences around the country. Although his acting for TV (“Nothing Trivial”), Film, Theatre and corporate work has taken precedence over his clowning in recent  years, Aaron has been wanting to be able to give again through clowning and he has been able to do this by being part of the Clown Doctors New Zealand team.



Ayden Jacobs           Dr. Indy Hoose

Ayden started his career in performance with one simple word -  “Hello”. It was, however, said in the voice of Donald Duck at age five. Ayden that is, not Donald. This ignited his talent for voice impersonations and during his school years he expanded his repertoire to other characters and accents as well. During this time Ayden discovered that what brought him real happiness was bringing happiness to others through laughter. 

In 1999 and 2000 he attended CircoArts, the circus performing school at CPIT, Christchurch. Specialising in clown, comedy and character he developed beyond just voice into movement, physicality, character and some incredible circus skills as well. 

Although he started out as an impersonator, Ayden now strives to create original material in both the arenas of comedy/clown and circus performance. Recently Ayden has become a member of Clown Doctors New Zealand. This is quite possibly his calling in life. His love of bringing happiness to others through laughter, especially those who truly need it, has guided him to this line of work. What has been his motto for years  - ' If laughter is the best medicine then I must be some sort of doctor' – has finally come true.


Hannah Mc Quilkan           Dr. Strut–Her-Stuff

Hannah has performed as long as she can remember, inspired by her mother who is a drama teacher. She was involved in theatre productions and television throughout childhood and received her Trinity College Speech and Drama diploma as a teenager in 1998.

Her interest in health and her desire to help people lead her to study Naturopathy at Wellpark College from 2002-2005. Hannah went on to work at Waiheke Natural Health Centre for several years as a practising Naturopath. More recently her main focus has been on acting. She has worked on various TV productions including 'Legend of the Seeker' and is an improvisational actor for Theatresports troupe ConArtists and is part of the Kinetic Sculpture Ensemble, The White Wall.

Hannah is thrilled and passionate about being part of the Clown Doctor programme because of the role it plays in inspiring and uplifting patients, their families and hospital workers. Helping people through performance as a Clown Doctor is a dream come true for Hannah.

Jude Bishop Dr. U Who

Jude has spent 24 years involved in theatre in education as a performer, puppeteer, designer, prop maker and tutor. She is the founding member and co-artistic director of Theatre Frontier and spent 11 years touring schools nationwide in New Zealand. She has been involved in developing performances with strong environmental themes in a collaborative partnership with The Edge and The Auckland Regional Council.

Jude worked for 3 years as a puppeteer with the New Zealand Puppet Theatre and 9 years with Auckland Playback Theatre. Jude has a Diploma in Drama from Auckland University and also trained as a primary school teacher. She is also involved in implementing alongside fellow co-worker, Toby the puppet, a personal safety programme for young children and their caregivers, "We Can Keep Safe" through Auckland Sexual Abuse Help Foundation. Jude is currently a tutor in drama at The Performing Arts School in Auckland.



Lisa Brickell   Dr. Tutti Frutti

Lisa has been acting (up) since she was a child, but discovered clowning when doing a post graduate DipDrama at Auckland University and fell in love (with clowning). She asked where she could learn more and her teacher said, “You must go to the Jacques LeCoq Theatre School in Paris and study with him.” At the time she was a poor student and wondered how she could do it. She ended up living and working in Japan for two years as an english, drama and disco dancing instructor to fund going to the school!

After finishing this drama school in Paris, she went on to study clowning with Giovanni Fusetti at the Kiklos Scuola Internazionale di Creazione Teatrale in Padova, Italy. She also studied Commedia dell’Arte with Antonio Fava in Italy and formed a theatre troupe travelling around Europe, the UK and America performing clown and mask work. She has a MA degree from Auckland University. She has taught drama at Unitec, M.I.T, TAPAC, Auckland University and runs many clowning workshops. See . Lisa has performed, taught and directed extensively in New Zealand, Italy, Brazil, Australia, Japan, France and England.

Lisa is a clown doctor and trainer. She loves working as a clown doctor as it is so rewarding to see a child and their family’s mood completely shift after visiting them. It is wonderful to bring laughter back to them when everything feels very sad and serious. What a wonderful job!


Rowan Ford Dawson               Dr. D.C.

Rowan is an artist who loves to battle gravity either on his unicycle or at the Rugby World Cup opening,  jumping and flipping his way down a 30 storey building.

Already at the age of 5 Rowan discovered his passion to be a performing artist. He graduated from CPIT CircoArts in Christchurch and has been also acting as assistant tutor there. Rowan now lives in Auckland where he is an established freelance circus performer.

He teaches circus skills and gymnastics to  kids and adults through an Auckland gymnastics school and through the Auckland City Council’s school programmes. Rowan works under his own brand Circus In A Flash doing children's entertainment and performance gigs around New Zealand. He adds a physical dimension to the Starship Hospital Clown Doctor team.

Ruth Dudding  Dr. Pick Me Up

Ruth has worked in theatre, television and video production for over 20 years as an actor, director, field producer, and camera operator. Ruth graduated from The New Zealand Drama School (Toi Whakaari) in 1983 and studied physical theatre and clowning at Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris in 1985.

She has performed in professional theatre since 1984 both in Wellington and Auckland and has appeared in a number of NZ produced television dramas. Ruth directs theatre and film and is a competent camera operator and editor, working on a contract basis for Television New Zealand, Maori Television and TV3. She manages her own video production business creating corporate videos and producing short films for National competitions and local councils. She is a drama and yoga tutor at the South Seas Film School in Auckland. 

Ruth is passionate about her work as a Clown Doctor at Auckland’s Starship Hospital, finding it challenging and rewarding in equal measures. Along with making a documentary about Clown Doctors finally being welcomed into New Zealand hospitals, Ruth is writing her first feature film script.


Victoria Abbott  Dr. Captain

Victoria has a Bachelor of Performing Arts Acting at Toi Whakaari as well as a Bachelor of Arts at Otago, major in Theatre, minor in Spanish language. She spent a month in Paris at the Ecole Philippe Gaulier.

She is an actress in Wellington, most recently performing in “West End Girls” and “Chekhov in Hell” (both at the Circa) as well as travelling throughout N.Z. with a 3 woman show called “Munted”, about the Christchurch earthquake and peoples’ experience of it.

Victoria enjoys her bubble wand, intrepid adventures and chuckling her way through the corridors of Starship hospital.


Stephen Hollins   Dr. P.P. Roni

Stephen has a Diploma of Drama, Auckland University and worked at Theatre Corporate, Auckland; The John Bolton Physical Theatre School, Melbourne and Al Wunder's Improvisational Theatre Studio, Melbourne.

In a career spanning 26 years he has worked as an actor in a variety of performing styles and genres for Film & TV, Theatre, Opera, Street Theatre, Corporate Theatre and Improvisational Theatre.

Stephen has directed, acted and produced shows and acts for theatre, corporate events and arts festivals. As an International performance artist he performed in arts festivals and events and was noted by the Hong Kong press (1998) as being one of Australasia’s leading clowns and mime artists.

Stephen has taught theatre skills and run workshops in Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and Auckland.

In 2000 Stephen returned from Melbourne and established Living Theatre, offering Auckland performers a platform to create, explore and develop their own content and theatrical expression through Open Form Improvisational Theatre.


Zack McCracken             Dr. Cracker

Zack trained as a General and Obstetric Nurse at Greenlane Hospital before travelling to the UK to work. A stint at the Edinburgh Arts Festival changed her direction and saw her returning to study – this time for an Honours Degree in Drama from the University of East Anglia. After completing her degree she spent two years at the Lecoq Theatre School in Paris graduating with a Diploma in Physical Theatre.

She returned to Edinburgh, this time as a performer and has continued to perform and direct in Europe and NZ over the last twenty years. She has taught extensively, informally and at tertiary level and runs regular clown workshops in Auckland.

Zack is currently a trainer for Clown Doctors NZ, managing ongoing artistic development.


Christchurch Team

Colin Cross Dr. Krinkle

Colin likes to see people laugh, smile and have fun. He firmly believes that laughter is a powerful medicine and finds his work at the hospital extremely rewarding.    

He has performed as a clown at birthday parties, corporate events, Kidsfest, the Body Festival, Festival of Flowers and the World Buskers Festival. Colin was the co-founder and director of the “Flying Kiwi Circus”, where he taught circus skills to children and adults.

As well as being a laughter yoga instructor, Colin is also a graphic designer and visual artist. 


Lisa Wingfield Dr. Love Joy Blue Bottle

Lisa has been a professional clown for over 20 years, performing throughout New Zealand and overseas. She is well known and loved as 'Pickle the Clown' from the popular and dynamic duo: 'Carrot and Pickle'.  She is a versatile physical comic artist with a vast experience in a myriad of disciplines.

She has a background in dance, gymnastics, mime and theatre and training in clown and circus skills from internationally respected teachers. As well as performing for countless family events and festivals, Lisa has written, devised and directed comic sketches and theatre for corporate events and educational presentations.

Lisa was a co-founder of the CPIT circus school and taught clowning there for 14 years. She is also Clown Doctors training co-ordinator for the South Island.


Louise Kerr Dr. Betty Bling

Louise left teaching to pursue a career in performing arts. Trained at Christchurch Polytechnic’s Circo Arts, Louise graduated with a diploma in circus arts in 2008.  She has also studied Red Nose Clown with Italian tutor and performer Giovanni Fusetti.

Louise specialises in clowning/character and comedy work.  She is skilled in unicycling, juggling, object manipulation, balloon modeling, and static trapeze. Louise has performed in such events as The World Buskers Festival, Whangarei and Waimate Busking Festivals, Akaroa French Festival, Circus Proms, The Royal New Zealand Show, Leeds Civic Hall, England, Unicycling on Ice and the Festival of Flowers.

Louise works as a regular MC in Christchurch and as a freelance circus performer.


Olli Ricken Dr. Schnuckempops

Olli is originally from Germany and has been performing as a professional clown for 20 years in Europe and NZ. Since 1999 it has been her dream to perform in hospitals as a clown doctor and she feels very privileged to help spread joy in this way.

She studied clowning, improvisation, theatre and circus in Germany, England, Hungary and NZ. Olli holds a Bachelor degree of Performing Arts in Circus Arts and Physical Theatre and a Masters in Educational Science and Psychology, which led her to study the benefits of laughter for health and using circus as an educational tool.

As a clown she is well loved for her solo clown shows  ‘Let Them Eat Cake’, ‘Superolli and Dolly’ and ‘Angel’ and characters like the ‘lonely penguin’ and ‘Bee Happy’.  She is also Co-Founder and Director of  ‘The Flying Kiwi Circus’, which provides integrative circus projects, classes and shows in the Canterbury area. 



Wellington Team


Fingal Pollock   Dr. Flymo

Fingal is a clown, actress and theatre director who has been studying and working around the world for the past twelve years.

She has studied and worked in New Zealand, India, America, Canada, Israel and Germany as well as travelling extensively in Asia and Europe. She received the bulk of her actors’ training in India where one of the performance highlights was clowning for orphanages in Pondicherry.

Having just recently returned to New Zealand she is delighted to once again be clowning and to bring so much joy to the children and adults she sees in the wards.


Ian Harcourt   Dr. Hector

Ian has 30 years experience as a comedian, actor and MC. As well as his stage work, he has appeared on radio, TV and feature films.

As a member of the pioneering comedy troupe Funny Business, he wrote for and performed in two TV series and appeared at the “Just For Laughs” international comedy festival in Montreal, Canada. He has been a core member of the Wellington company The Improvisors for nearly 20 years, during which time he has provided entertainment, training and MCing for a huge range of events and conferences.

Ian is delighted to join the Clown Doctors programme as a way of building on his skills and taking on new challenges.


Jen McArthur   Dr. Smoo

Jen is a graduate of the New Zealand School of Dance, the Victorian College of the Arts - Choreography (Melbourne), and Circomedia – Circus Skills and Physical Theatre (Bristol UK) and has done further extensive clown training with Giovanni Fusetti (Lecoq school and Helikos).

In her professional career Jen has worked for The World of Wearable Arts Awards Show as Pre show and Character Coordinator and performed with Awkward Productions circus theatre company, Touch Compass Dance Company and the Christchurch Buskers Festival, to name a few. She has created two full length dance theatre works (“Cornerstones” and “Divine Proportions”), three street theatre shows (“Carmen the Magnificent”, “The Pinyata Sisters” and “Immigrant”) and three clown theatre shows (“The Ghosts’ Soiree”, “Perceiving Murder” and “Echolalia”), the last of which won Best Solo Show at the Wellington Fringe Festival 2012.

She joined the international physical comedy company Kallo Collective after meeting fellow Kiwi and original member Thom Monckton at a Fusetti clown workshop and has worked with them in France, Finland and NZ.

Jen joined the Clown Doctors NZ with the first Wellington team in June 2012.


Jeremy Nelson Dr. I.V. Drip

Jeremy is a professional trained actor who specialises in improvisational acting. He works extensively in the corporate field with an event management company and works with various other organisations. Jeremy has appeared in a number of television/film projects over the years.

He has also performed and toured primary schools in a 2 person clown show dealing with bullying.

Jeremy was selected in the inaugural group to start Clown Doctors in Wellington. His clown, Dr I.V. Drip loves wandering the wards of Wellington Hospital making children laugh and smile.


Thomas LaHood Dr. Over Board

Thomas is a performer with a long history of theatre, film and television experience.

He trained for 4 months at Bont's International Clown School (Ibiza, Spain) in 2006 and since then has worked as a freelance actor in New Zealand.  Notable recent roles include a Grim Reaper in “Good Night - The End” at Downstage Theatre, a circus dog in “Tale of a Dog” at Capital Eand a dwarf in “The Hobbit”. 

Thomas loves parades, picnics, and dancing. He runs an independent family theatre company (Barbarian Productions) with his wife Jo Randerson and their two sons Geronimo and Caspar.



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