Red Noses for Laughter in Hospitals
Professional clown doctors began working in hospitals in 1986 under a program called the Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit (USA) and spread very quickly all over the world. They are operating now in Australia, the UK, Germany, South Africa, Israel, France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Holland, Finland and others... Clown doctors are actually professional performers and not medical doctors. But they have additional training to work with sick children in the hospital. Using skills such as magic, balloon sculpting and storytelling, they try to help children deal with fear, anxiety, loneliness and boredom they may experience while being hospitalised. An old Slovenian proverb says that laughter is the best medicine. Some research has shown that laughter has both physiological and psychological benefits. Like combating stress, reducing pain by releasing endorphins the body's natural painkiller, relaxing muscles and help people cope with their troubles. The founder of Slovenian Red Noses is Eva Skofic Maurer, who is the only Slovene female clown with a Diploma from the Circus and Arts Academy in Moscow. Being a part of a circus was her childhood dream. She was four, when she decided to became a clown, at age 15 she left Slovenia and went to the ex Soviet Union. She stayed there for nine years. After coming back home she started to perform as a clown Mika Maka on TV Koper, writing stories, which were published in a children's book and singing chanson. Eva S. Maurer planned to found the Red Noses for the last few years. In June she organised an audition and chose a few volunteers who are now participating in training and skill development workshops. She said that Slovenian clown doctors will soon perform some red-nose transplants, funny-bone checks and cat scans in Paediatric hospital in Ljubljana and many others.