Who is Jonathan Kay?
Jonathan Kay is a 21st century Fool
Jonathan Kay is recognised as a leading performer in the ‘Theatre of Immediacy’ of Fooling, and is a highly respected practitioner and teacher of Fooling workshops. He is the founder of the largest street theatre festival in the UK, The Hat Fair, and is an Honorary Fellow of The University of Winchester. He has performed and taught in Canada, the USA, Australia, South Korea and Jordan and extensively throughout Europe and the UK, including time at the prestigious The Drama Centre and The Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.
As well as teaching a demanding annual schedule of workshops, in October 2018 Kay launched his anarchic and highly unusual theatre company The Nomadic Academy Of Fools. Auditions were held in Berlin and London, and the ten sought after places were quickly filled. Training takes place over a 12 month period, with the students meeting for an intensive two week period every six weeks, in different cities throughout Europe.
On top of this work, Kay is a seasoned performer and has been fooling for over 40 years. He is part of the family at Glastonbury Festival, with over 25 successive years in the main Theatre tent, and has performed at countless festivals across Europe including Rudolstadt, Sweden’s infamous ‘No Mind’ festival and the Sunday Papers Live in London.
In 2019 he was invited to give a sold out talk at TedX Manchester where he turned the event completely on it’s head to a rapturous audience, and in the same year had a lengthy feature and interview on BBC World News to an audience of millions.
So what is Fooling exactly? Fooling is a form of improvised theatre. The dramatic journey is as unpredictable and unknowable for the performer as it is for the audience. Foolish theatre is explicitly non-traditional and without rational considerations, because it is driven by feelings held in the Now. The act of “Thinking” is improvisational theatre’s most immediate and persistent assassin. Go with Feeling, not with Thinking. Kay sees Fooling as inclusive, a way of including both the ‘real’ world of the audience and the ‘imaginary’ world of theatre.
Jonathan’s stomping ground is on the cliff between inertia and speed, encouraging participants to fly or to learn how to land, not only in their imagination but also in their purpose. He helps us to look at the hypothetical anchors that can tie people down for a lifetime, engaging them in a compassionate, humorous and sometimes challenging way so they can liberate themselves, turning what appears to be valueless into gold.
Jonathan Kay lives with his partner and two young children on a farm near Glastonbury in Somerset, England.