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"The recharge we are all hoping for."

Ben Keaton. Clown & Founder the Creativity Academy

1 - 5 June

The Poetic Clown

2 places left

27 Aug  - 2 Sept

The Creative Retreat

2 places left

“This space lands itself in magic. An adventure playground for your inner child!”

Patrick Kealy (Theatre Maker & Performer)

The Poetic Clown

1-5 June

What is it? A 4 days poetic journey to explore the various layers of the clown: The deeper message within the comedy, the metaphorical world & costume as well as the unconventional language. 

A time to play & escape in nature's beauty and its endless source of inspiration.

A place to recharge & explore the healing powers of clowning through laughter,  empowerment and artistic expression.

Who is it for? People interested in clowning as a way to raise awareness about social issues, life journeys & transitions. People working in applied theatre or theatre activism. People willing to add a poetic layer to their  clown or their artistic journey. The retreat will be lead by Sophie Besse (scroll down for more info).

Day 1: Visit & Moonlight walk 

Visit of a medieval village close to the airport followed by a poetic diner (whatever that means to us) and a moonlight walk.

A first day to disconnect from daily stress and welcome beauty, playfulness and imagination  in our soul & creative process. 

Day 2: Going on a clown hunt. Clowns don't  just turn up like that. These little peeps are very cheeky and love hiding in unconventional places like inside a trumpet, or down the river, or even in trash bins (yes, lots of clowns grow among broken & wasted stuff). 

But there's one thing clowns can't resist: playing! So this will be a long outdoor day exploring our secret games to find our clowns. 

Day 3: The Poetic Language 

Emotions are often far too big to fit into words no matter how hard you squeeze and you push... But clowns still love words, they'd just rather play with them, that's all. They developed another language full of poetry, imagery and metaphors and take us into a world where they can be heart-wrenching, endearing and hilarious at the same time. Clowns are not scared to tell the terrible truth, it's even their duty to do so, but  they always hold a flower of imagination in their hand. 

So on day 3, we'll go to their language school for the day. (More about our poetic approach here.)

Day 4: Time to dress up & invite friends over!

Last evening is party time with guests from the village. It's not a show, not even a sharing, more of a dinner invitation in the universe we explored. And of course, for our clowns it's finally the time to get messy-creative, dress up and powder their noses! We will explore diverse costumes playing around with objects, clothes, recycling bins and Nature's gifts. The last touch will be the make-up of course, a sacred clown ritual involving a magic mirror to reach inside us and spot the shadows and colours of our clowns. 

Scroll down for prices and conditions


The Creative Retreat

27 Aug  - 2 Sept

A time for theatre makers, group facilitators and curious souls. A  pause from very demanding jobs to re-connect with yourself, your creativity and your needs to be able to share, create and give again. This week is a broader taster of our work. There's no specific program as one of the first things we will share with you is our approach to facilitation and holding spaces. We will build the week together depending on your needs, wishes and inputs as well as on the group's diversity.

This week is an opportunity to play, explore and create in Nature, to share your practice and questions with others, get inspired and bring new skills & colours back to your community.

No specific experience needed. Your difference is our chance.

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“Thank you Sophie for your support, playfulness, and generosity for allowing all of us to explore and express our deepest creative selves.”

Tony Cealy (Applied Theatre director & facilitator)


What to expect

- 6 days workshops with a sharing on the Sunday evening where we will invite people from the village + 1 day visiting the beautiful region before parting.

- An opportunity to explore and practice facilitation & space holding, share your skills and learn from others.

- A moment to recharge and unwind through silent walks & body care time.

- An introduction to our approach of clowning & visual poetry. (More about it here.)

- Games and ensemble work. One of our areas of expertise is diversity & community building as well as generating  devising material through games. We will share with you the various games we have developed to be accessible to all.

- An experience of theatre making: As a group we will explore what is "us" and what we wish to explore and share at the end of the retreat.

« A unique, life transforming experience. Peaceful nature, stunning village and delicious food! » Isameldin Agieb (community facilitator)

Your Stay


You will stay in an old mill from the 14th century and its wooden chalets surrounded by a little river and a bamboo forest. 

We have 2 individual rooms (first come first served) and 4 twin rooms.

We are located 35 minutes away from Bergerac airport and 5 min walk away from Monpazier, a medieval village from the 12th century classified as one of "France's most beautiful villages". 

« Such a special time. Missing it already! »

Elena (collages artist and wellbeing facilitator)

You will also find

- A swimming pool

- A sauna

- Monpazier's local market 


About the Facilitator

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"Beautiful in both its poetic and physical language, Mohand & Peter is a triumph."

There Ought To Be Clowns

More info on Sophie's recent work Here


Sophie Bertrand Besse is the Artistic Director of PSYCHEdelight theatre company of Sanctuary. She is both trained in drama and therapy and developed an expertise in physical theatre, ensemble work and clowning (Among other trainings: Gaulier, Lecoq, LISPA, John Wright, Lucy Hopkins, Complicite, Told By an Idiot, Ben Keaton.) Sophie is specialised in participatory theatre, directing and devising. She creates shows with mixed casts involving marginalised communities who wish to raise awareness about their life journeys. Sophie uses theatre as a platform to help people express themselves and be heard. She is a diversity advocate and expert at holding spaces with different ages, languages and abilities in the room. She worked with young offenders and women in prison for 7 years and is the founder of PSYCHEdelight's  Together Workshops welcoming local people and refugee communities.

« Feeling very grateful for a week like this full of images and poetry. » Daisy (Theatre Director working with autistic communities)

THE POETIC CLOWN    1 - 5 June 

SUPPORTER:  £420 - Thank you! You help us make our retreat accessible. The 2 first people to book this price get an individual room.

NORMAL: £350.


If you can't afford this retreat contact us here  As a theatre company of Sanctuary we support participants from refugee background who wish to develop & share their artistic and facilitation skills with their communities.

If you are interested by this retreat please send an email to Sophie here with "Retreat" in the title. We will arrange a short online meeting to make sure this retreat is the right one for you.

THE CREATIVE RETREAT     27 Aug - 2 Sept

SUPPORTER:  £620 You help provide access for all & the 2 first people to book this price get an individual room.

NORMAL: £560.


If you can't afford this retreat contact us here  As a theatre company of Sanctuary we support participants from refugee background who wish to develop & share their artistic and facilitation skills with their communities.



- The price includes delicious home-made food, accommodation, workshop and transport from and to Bergerac airport or station.

- The easiest from London is flying with Ryanair to Bergerac airport but you can also fly to Bordeaux (Usually much cheaper in case of  last minute booking). You then take a train from Bordeaux to Bergerac.   - Please don't book any transport before  double checking with the organiser as Monpazier doesn't have local transports and we will arrange only one pick up time in Bergerac.) 

- To secure a space you need to pay £100 non refundable deposit.



For bookings & questions

contact Sophie here (please put "retreat" in the title) or via what's app on +447954153038

Thank you!

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