Dimitri (clown)

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Dimitri [1] (born September 18, 1935;[2] Ascona, Switzerland as Dimitri Jakob Müller). After changing his name, his official name is Jakob Dimitri. He is a well-known Swiss clown and mime.

Early life and training[edit]

Dimitri Mataras was born in Ascona, Switzerland in 1935.[3] When he was seven years old he decided he wanted to become a clown. After graduating from school, Dimitri became an apprentice potter while studying music and theater. He went to Paris to study under Etienne Decroux, then Marcel Marceau.


In 1959, he was hired as an Auguste by Louise Maisse, a whiteface clown. He then created his own solo mime act which was received with much acclaim during the 1962 International Mime Festival in Berlin. In 1971, Dimitri founded with his wife Gunda a theater. In 1975, he founded the Scuola Teatro Dimitri in Verscio. It is a small performing arts college in the Swiss national higher education system. In 1973, he was awarded the Grock prize, and appeared with New York's Big Apple Circus. He has also performed in many other countries across the globe. He was inducted into the International Clown Hall of Fame in 1995.


Dimitri prefers performing solo in theaters with a few props and no scenery. His act is motivated with his comic logic and playful spirit allowing him to incorporate a wide variety of circus skills. Interaction with the audience is an integral part of both his stage acts. The finale of his show is to play four saxophones simultaneously. He is a published author and songwriter, and operates a theater company with his wife Gunda, in Verscio, in the canton of Ticino in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland.

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