Mump + Smoot


Company History

Mump & Smoot are the comic creations of Michael Kennard and John Turner. They are also referred to as clowns of horror. They inhabit a parallel universe called Ummo, worship a god named Ummo and speak their own brand of gibberish, Ummonian. Together they challenge every convention about clowns in a series of darkly humorous shows that range from the zany to the macabre.

Michael and John met in 1986 in Second City workshops. As a duo they discovered they had a good connection, especially when doing gibberish exercises. It was also in Second City workshops that they met and began working with director Karen Hines, who has gone on to direct all of their shows and is integral from the developmental phase through to full production. Thirty-six years ago, on Friday the 13th of May, 1988, Mump & Smoot were born in their first show Jump the Gun. Their distinctive style of clowning finds its roots deep within their work with Canadian clown master Richard Pochinko, with whom they worked extensively for the last two years of his life.

Apart from numerous short sketches their primary repertoire includes eight full length shows, Something - 1989, Caged - 1990, Ferno-1992, Tense - 1997, Something Else - 1998, Flux - 2002, Cracked – 2010, Anything – 2014 and now The Exit. Their critical acclaim and popularity was developed through consistent sell-outs in the fringe festival’s across Canada. They then went on to have successful runs at many major regional theatres including the La Jolla Playhouse, the Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven where they were Associate Artists for seven years, the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Center Stage in Baltimore, the Dallas Theater Center, Alberta Theatre Project in Calgary, and at the Canadian Stage Berkeley Street in Toronto.

Mump & Smoot have also appeared Off-Broadway at the Astor Place Theater in New York, and at the Palestinian National Theatre and the Acco Theatre Festival in Israel. This dynamic duo won two Dora Mavor Moore awards in June 2003 - one for Outstanding Production (Mump & Smoot in Flux) and another to Karen Hines for Direction. They were also nominated for a Canadian Comedy Award for Comedic Play (Mump & Smoot in Flux) and are past recipients of a Canadian Comedy Award for Live Male Performance. They have also won the Outstanding Small Visiting Company Award at the Boston Theater Awards and have appeared in the Genie-Award winning film The Fairy Who Didn’t Want To Be A Fairy Anymore as well as their own Canadian Film Centre short The Princess Who Wouldn’t Smile.