Sonia Norris

PhD Candidate

Working Dissertation


Precarious Presence and the Trauma of Happiness: Positioning Contemporary Female Clown in a Globalised World


Antje Budde


Sonia Norris is a director, creator, writer and teacher working internationally with theatre, dance, circus, clown, mask and puppetry companies. Recent projects include Caravan Farm Theatre, Cirqiniq/Cirque du Soleil, Banff Centre Indigenous Dance Program, Red Sky Productions, LEGacy Circus, Stratford Festival, The Assembly Clown Company, and with Handspring Puppet Company and Ukwanda Puppet Design Collective in South Africa, and observing with the National Theatre in England. Sonia’s research and professional work extends into applied theatre projects, working with indigenous communities in Zimbabwe, South Africa
and the Arctic.

Sonia trained at Ecole Internationale de Theatre Jacques Lecoq, Ecole Philippe Gaulier and the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre in California. She is a graduate of the Playhouse Acting School and received an MFA in Directing from York University with a thesis on Bertolt Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera. She is a 3rd year PhD student at the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, examining female clown as a performance of failure amidst the trauma of happiness. Secondary research includes the examination of animacy in puppet, clown, and mask theatre. Sonia is a Mellon Fellow at the Jackman Humanities Institute, working on the South-North Aesthetic Education Project with the University of the Western Cape in South Africa.

Selected work

Olifantland, Handspring Puppet Company, Barrydale, South Africa

I Have A Dream!…, Harare International Festival of the Arts, Zimbabwe

Mask Workshops, Zimbabwe

Theatre Productions

Truth and Reconciliation in Elephant Land, The ArtSci Effect, University of Toronto