The Beirut blast on August 4th caused widespread destruction in the city; around 300,000 housing units damages, more than 200 deceased victims, thousands injured, and countless families left with no shelter. Everyone was in a state of shock and couldn’t grasp what happened to our city and its habitants.
On the first few weeks, we grabbed some tools, and contacted a few groups that wanted to volunteers and we were on the group cleaning glass and helping people cleaning up their homes. Many NGOs and inidividuals were helping as well. But soon enough, we realized we needed laughter and joy to be able to survive and that is something very few groups are targeting. A comic relief was needed in our lives and on the streets. And this is what we do best.
Six of the clown members of Clown Me In started rehearsing, online first, then in person for a street performance to be presented in the most affected areas in Beirut.
It wasn’t easy. We had to overcome the trauma and shock that filled the city after the explosion, as well as keeping in mind the COVID-19 safety measures.
Clowns in masks?
Two meters social distancing?
It all sounded tough and impossible.
But of course, the minute we stepped foot in the rehearsals room, all challenges got lighter and solutions started rising.
Throughout rehearsals and during all the shows, all participants kept their masks on and kept a safe distance to prevent the spread of the virus, in case any of us is carrying it. We also limited meeting people outside of our bubble, even with masks. An outside member of the group was setup to record the body temperature and symptoms the members felt to keep track of any infection early on. Fortunately, we were all negative when tested after finishing all of the shows.
We performed for around 1500 persons in 16 different places around greater Beirut, and one show outside Beirut to people who were displaced from their Beiruti homes. It felt great to feel a change in atmosphere when clowns walk in, with people waving and smiling or clapping along to our short musical parade around the performance area. It was so heartwarming to hear the children and adults laugh, see the young ones playing and dancing and interacting and enjoying their time during the performances.
We had a few memorable encounters with people who really touched our hearts with their words because as they shared, we touched theirs.
In Mar mikhael, a 45 year old man was watching us perform and crying quietly. He told us it’s the most beautiful thing he’d seen since the explosion and decided to come watch our show again the next day in another area.
Also in Mar mikhael, a 40 year old woman followed us and requested to take a picture with us to keep remembering this “precious moment”, “you made my day”, she said.
In Karantina, some kids came to watch us several times and there’s this one kid who managed to find us wherever we were performing in the area. He came to us and said he’s been seeing the show in his dreams every night and he’d like us to come up with a new scenes because he now knows it by heart!!
We heard so many stories about kids who were severely injured by the blast but insisted on coming down to walk with us and watch the show.
One of those kids was Angie, a 5 year old girl who dared to leave her half destroyed home for the first time to follow the clowns and jump, sing and play with us. Her mom couldn’t believe her eyes and was thanking us for making it happen.
Our most impactful story is from Sin El Fil. At night after the show, we receive a message from the NGO coordinator, who helped us make the happen in the area, sent us that one of the girls who attended the show had not spoken a word ever since the explosion. But after the show, she went back to her father and told him all the details of the show.
She talked! Clown is magic. Clown is life.
Comic Relief 2020 Tour was funded by Payasos Sin Fronteras in Spain.
We are grateful for those who supported the tour and fascilitated and donated to help us achieve all of us
If you still would like to support us and keep helping others, visit and share the link below and donate