The Man Behind the Clown

David Shiner began his career on the streets of Paris in 1981 and quickly established himself as an artist with a vision. He drew hundreds of spectators at a time to his own form of guerrilla theater. He incorporated audience members and bystanders – from grandmothers to children to businessmen and police – holding up a mirror to both the mundane and spectacular as an antagonistic yet loveable social commentator.

Mr. Shiner’s reputation spread throughout Europe’s circle of street performers and he was soon in demand among the region’s best known circuses, including Roncalli in Germany and Knie in Switzerland. Across the Atlantic, Mr. Shiner became one of the original contributors to Cirque du Soleil, first as a performer and then as a director with the show Kooza.

In addition to the circus, Mr. Shiner also performed in variety theater and film. During the shooting of 1993’s “Silent Tongue” by Sam Shepard, Mr. Shiner had the opportunity to act alongside Bill Irwin. From that chance meeting grew a collaboration that would last for over 20 years. Together, they created the Broadway hit “Fool Moon.” The show won many awards, including a special Tony Award because of its modern spin on vaudevillian comedy. The duo’s most recent collaboration, “Old Hats,” will be appearing again in New York in 2016 after a successful run in 2012.

Mr. Shiner is a regular contributing director and teacher at the Theater Akademie August Everding in Munich, Germany. He also holds workshops throughout Europe and the United States. He is currently developing a film script, which will be shooting in the fall of 2016.

Mr. Shiner has appeared on The Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, Dick Cavett, and Regis and Kathy Lee shows. He is a two-time recipient of the Drama Desk Award, and also received the Outer Critics Circle Award, Obie Award and the Lea Award in Germany for Best Live show 2014.

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