What Is a Clown Alley?

The Clown Alley was a special place in the circus set aside for the clowns. It wasn’t a real alley, simply a strip of the yard alongside the Big Top.
This location was covered with a canopy which extended from the Big Top itself and was near the back doorway of the main tent. The back doorway had to be very easily available, because the clowns were in and out of the tent so many times throughout the show.
Nowadays clowns often use RV’s and motor-homes to dress and apply make-up, so the historical dressing area seldom exists. Therefore the expression is used for any organized group of clowns, whether or not they are affiliated with a circus or carnival.
In the circus, clowns were given their own section in the dressing tent because powdering their make-up might be messy. This part was usually closest to the edge of the tent so the clowns may easily duck underneath the canvas to powder their make-up outside.
Simply because this area was the farthest from the opening to the primary tent, they were also the darkest. The darkness and the tent walls lower on one side made it seem like an alley, so it came to be called ” clown alley.”
During the show, if there had been issues with the rigging or another person got injured, the clowns would fill in till the show was ready to resume. It is customary that the traditional procedure to signal an acrobat to go on to begin his act was to yell “Allez Oop” (pronounced Alley Oop). Once the clowns were needed, the director may yell, “Clowns Allez” meaning “Clowns Go.”
After a while, the team of clowns grew to become known as the clown alley and the area where these folks waited between the acts also adopted this name.
In a dressing tent in Clown Alley, the clowns put on their distinctive costumes and makeup. Starting with white colored stocking caps to shield their hair, these folks may smear their faces with a grease paint known as “clown white”. After that, every single clown developed his or her own make-up to accent their facial traits.
No two clown faces could be precisely alike. If you glance carefully at two clowns who appear to look alike, you can see modest differences – eyebrows formed differently, or the muzzle simply a bit greater or smaller.
Clown Alley was where the clowns waited for the sign to “allez.” It is additionally a holding place for the larger props essential in the shows. There were the stilt walker’s ten-foot stilts, the funny carts, and the tiny fire engine wagon. There had been the human-size razors that turned up in the barbershop act, as well as bicycles, hoops, and collapsible chairs just to mention a few.
The clowns invested lots of time in Clown Alley where there was constantly laughter, simply because the clowns cherished to master jokes on each other.
It is there that quite a few youthful clowns discovered the art of clowning from their elders.