Fraser has become a much sort after director working with artists worldwide developing and creating highly original shows. His thirty years performing experience in theatres, street festivals and circus has put him in a unique position to help artists develop their work.
His career started early aged five doing clown shows in his back garden playing to all the neighbourhood kids. His passion for performing developed and he followed his dream first getting work on the London cabaret circuit in the late 80s. Since then his shows have been seen in over forty countries. His early influences lie in British TV comedy, the silent cinema and watching the great theatre and circus clowns. An avid collector of clown books and videos Fraser has amassed a huge archive which provides an invaluable source for research and inspiration. A lifetime devoted to making people laugh has enabled him to help other clowns, musicians, actors and puppeteers make work that is highly accessible, very visual and extremely funny.
One Month Show Creation
Every show is unique and many productions need a lot more than a month to get them to fruition. A month is the minimum recommended time required to make enough material for a forty five minute outdoor show or a one hour indoor show. It starts with a THREE DAY JAM, see below. Then in the rehearsal room Fraser concentrates on helping the artists release their vision and tell their story. They quickly create visual pictures that form the material for the show based on their original ideas. The first two weeks are spent improvising, generating ideas around the theme of the show. The third week the material is honed for performance and the forth is spent testing it out. It’s preferable to have a showing of a work in progress to friends or an invited audience at the end of the third week so the final week is free to rework anything that needs changing.
“I flew to the other side of the world to have Fraser Hooper direct one of my shows. After an entire month stuck in a little studio together one thing was very clear; Fraser was the absolute best person I could be working with. He is the ideal authority on what is funny. We didn’t know each other prior but on day one we were already in a rhythm of making great material. Fraser made the whole process genuinely good fun, we laughed together almost constantly and Fraser’s passion and excitement for building my show was warming and abundant. I couldn’t have hoped for a better creation process and within a year I was hassling him to find out when he was available for the next show. The experience has shaped me as a performer and my approach to comedy not just for the one production but for life. If you spend enough time being directed by Fraser Hooper, if you are lucky, his voice will stay with you in the back of your mind. But unfortunately so will his wheezy laugh.”
One Week Show Development
This is a great way to delve deeper into the work and generate heaps of material. It is a time to build routines, expand and research the shows main themes. It is not enough time to hone the material but Fraser will work closely with the artists by email, video and skype feedback after the week has finished to help the project become a reality. Each day consists of improvisation, writing, picture drawing, reflection goal setting and rehearsal. If appropriate an informal showing can be arranged on the penultimate day. Video is used to record the work in progress.
“I was thrilled to work with Fraser as collaborator and director of a new show ‘Mr Fungus Returns’ for the NZ Fringe in Wellington, 2019. Fraser not only enabled me to truly explore my character in a refreshing way, he inspired me to keep on with the journey of finding new material and developing this show. I found Fraser very calm yet enthusiastic to work with, he really listened to what I was hoping to achieve and masterfully led me into new realms of possibility while also tactfully letting me decide which options made up the resulting show. I’m looking forward to further development of this show, and other projects with Fraser… he is a remarkably knowledgeable and skilful director, teacher and performer…”
Fergus Aitken www.fergusaitken.co.nz
“Fergus Aitken and director Fraser Hooper deliver the goods. This is engaged, smart and skilled physical humour for all ages. A real gem.”
Theatre Review NZ on Mr Fungus Returns
Three Day Jam
This is a great opportunity to try out some ideas, refresh old ones, or work on one or two particular routines in more depth. In other words it is a time to generate new material or look at news ways to work the artists existing material. It can also provide an intensive practical workshop where the artist’s work with Fraser in a studio “jamming” ideas around their vision for a new show. It’s a great way for companies or individuals to assess if he is the right director for the job. Having three days with no obligations to go forward on both sides builds trust so the right decisions are made. It allows Fraser to see what the company needs and informs the artists how well they all work together and how their project could develop.
“Fraser Hooper is clever, humble and passionate as a person…unpretentious, authentic and original as an artist. His knowledge and compromise about clown made working with him a joyful revelation. Departing from the artistic respect and personal empathy he made me not only to reaffirm my own way and style but also to open my view to endless possibilities and to a different perspective of creation… not based in “what” but in “how”.
Samuel Penhastro aka Thelmo Parole
“Great to work with you last week, it was super useful and I’ve been done a few days work on it this week working in the stuff we did last week so I’m feeling good about it! Look forward to doing some shows with an audience next weekend.”
This is useful when it’s not possible to meet in person.
Artists or companies supply a video of an existing show or a written idea of what they want to make. Then three one and half hour Skype video sessions are arranged usually over one month. Fraser gives detailed feedback on the video and sets an action plan of how to develop the piece. The second and third sessions are used for reflection after ideas have been tested. New plans and goals are then put in place. Fraser works carefully with the artists to make sure their visions are realised as closely as they see them.
“I have worked on my show with Fraser both in person and online through video chat. Over video he watched my show and gave me a ton of ideas to improve it and add humour. Fraser has a ridiculous amount of knowledge in circus, clown, and theatre and can help you transform your show. He’s also friendly and attentive. I highly recommend working with Fraser!”
Rebecca Anne Zelewicz
“Thank you so much for your help and support to get me to this place Fraser. I’ve really enjoyed your directions and think they’ve had a really positive affect on my creative process. I know this is just the start of the journey, I just wanted you to know how grateful I am.”
“Fraser did a great job of identifying the areas of my show which could be developed or expanded. His suggestions regarding character, costume and set were hugely beneficial. His eye for detail and experience in understanding what makes an audience tick helped me to radically overhaul parts of my show. The best part was being able to send a video and then read Fraser’s detailed commentary on it with timings, stage directions etc. The key thing I learnt was that I already had the tools I needed, they just needed sharpening. Thanks Fraser”
Feeding the fish
Over the years Fraser has worked with many artists helping them develop their careers. His knowledge of festivals, clowns, promoters and especially the outdoor entertainment industry has made him an invaluable resource to help artists reach their goals.
“Having Fraser as my mentor during 2017/18 was an absolute dream. Fraser’s insider knowledge for the world of clowning, street performing and touring is invaluable. I’m almost speechless at how much he helped me! I will say this: Fraser would always listen to me respectfully, he would offer no BS responses, he would bring valuable insights to brain storming game plans, and I would leave our sessions with the confidence and the enthusiasm to keep trying to make the world laugh.
I never felt like I was annoying Fraser with any question, big or small. It would be easy to feel intimidated by Fraser’s insane knowledge in the world of clown, but being mentored by him was motivating and made me realise that we are always learning and failing and just trying to get a laugh along the way. Fraser is a true master at the world of clown and touring and it is impossible to not feel inspired after every conversation.”
2019 Developmental work for Flame Oz UK
2019 Developmental work for Margherita Mischitelli Italy
2019 Developmental work for Sam Goodburn Tea and Biscuits UK
2019 Developmental work for Samuel Peñastro UK
2019 Developmental work for Matthias Romir Berlin Germany
2019 Developmental work for an indoor playspace for Capital E New Zealand
2018/19 Directed Fergus Aitken Mr Fungus New Zealand
2018 Directed Grace Billings hula hoop street show, New Zealand
2018 Development work Nick Tansley New Zealand
2017 Directed Sam Goodburn Dumbstruck New Zealand/UK
2016 Directed Mighty Mike a strong man show New Zealand
2016 Development work for MOE New Zealand
2016 Development work for Paul Morocco Italy, UK
2015 Development work for Asher Treleavan and Gypsy Wood show Australia
2014 Development work for Vinyl Burns Theatre show New Zealand
2014 Development work for Billionairz Cobra, street show Australia
2014 Development work for Magic Brian, theatre Show Australia
2014 Development work for Asher Treleavan, stand up show Australia
2014 Development work for The Boy with Tape on his Face TV and theatre show Australia
2014 Development work for Sharon Mahoney, stand up show Australia
2013 Directed Oskar & Strudal A clown duo Switzerland
2013 Development work for Steve Cousins UK
2013 Director for Jessica Arpin A clown theatre show NZ, Italy, Switzerland
2013 Development work for Tamara Campbell UK
2012 Development work for Toni Smith A hula hoop show New Zealand
2012 Development work for Caducus a due stunt show Canada
2012 Development work for Jessica Arpin A solo cabaret show Canada
2012 Development work for Miss Behave A female sword swallower New Zealand
2012 Development work for Ernesto The Magnifico A solo street show New Zealand
2011 Clown director for Camp Ground Chaos Fuse Circus. A five person circus show, NZ
2011 Directed Open House An indoor circus show based in a real house for
The Pitts a circus Family Lismore Australia
2011 Directed Aomega for Dan Nimmo New Zealand
2010 Directed Shirlee Sunflower and The Great Dave’s magic show Australia
2010 Directed Two Late Night Madness Cabarets Edmonton St Festival Canada
2009 Development work for Swank a small scale street show UK
2009 Development work for Mario Queen of the Circus a statue show UK
2009 Development work for Jon Hicks for Elephants UK
2008 Directed The Von Trolley Quartet a circus clown street band France
2008 Co-directed The Pre show for Toyota car launch at The XL Centre UK
2008 Directed Reckless Invention a small scale street show UK
2007 Directed “Grimm Jam” for Monkeyshine in Dublin Ireland
2006 Directed Two Frocks An Australian cabaret duo UK
2003 & 2005 Directed Street acts from Streetwise Northern Ireland
2003 Co-Directed Home from Home Polka Theatre Wimbledon UK
2002 Directed Gemcatchers a water safety clown theatre show UK
2001 Directed Wind People for RinTinTin a street theatre mask show UK
2001 Directed Clowning by Numbers Circus Space London UK
2000-1 Directed Chambers & Nettleton a cabaret show for the London circuit UK
1999 Directed and performed in Three Men and a Duck, New Zealand
1997 Directed Hallelujah! a clown theatre show for 12 performers UK
1996 Directed BTEC students in the clown show Ratatouille at Circus Space UK
1995 Directed Getting Nosey for children’s theatre company Kazzum UK