Justin Cimino


Justin is an actor, director, and teaching artist who has brought Clowning and Devising work to students ages 4-84 in New York City and around the world.

In the Clown World, we don't believe God ladles out unequal amounts of talent. Everyone gets the same dollop, and you've just got to do the work to free up your talent, and give it room to move around.

Justin Cimino received his BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, training at the Meisner Studio. He has trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. As an actor, he has performed Off-Broadway and in many other productions in NYC. He has been a teaching artist for 15 years. He is currently the Artistic Director for Zara Aina, a nonprofit organization that brings theater to at-risk communities in Madagascar and the United States. He was hired by UNICEF to use Zara Aina’s theater work to mobilize communities in Madagascar to fight polio. He has brought Zara Aina’s work to rural Southern Alabama, building original pageant-style shows with community members ages 4-84.

Justin has directed and taught clowning and the devised “moment work” of the Tectonic Theater Project at NYU Tisch, Columbia University, The Studio/NY, The Public’s Shakespeare Initiative, Terry Knickerbocker Studio, and Smashworks Dance Company. Justin has devised and directed several productions for his theater company Pigeonholed, of which he is the Founder and Artistic Director.

In 2019 Justin received a SU-CASA grant from the Queens Council on the Arts to build an original theater piece with senior citizens, and devised and directed a hybrid clown//dance piece for TheaterLab’s Hotel New Works Residency and for The Tank’s LadyFest.

Hear From Our Students

“Being in Clown class was a transformative experience…..”


Being in Clown class was a transformative experience. Justin created a space in which we felt free to express ourselves with love for ourselves and each other, without judgement or fear of failure or messing up. Being a clown opened me up in ways that made me a more happy person, as well as a more open and creative artist, with more of a capacity to trust and play with others. There is nothing else quite like it.

– Neil F.

Conservatory Student


“I recommend Justin’s clowning class for anyone who wants to re-awaken the child in them and to expand deeper into the depths of their most care-free, impulsive artistry….”

I signed up for Justin’s Clowning class last minute and to me and my work as an artist, it ended up being one of the most critical additions to my curriculum at TK. Clown with Justin was FUN yes, but it was also meaningfuldeepengaging, and (some moments) mind-blowing. Justin guided our unique qualities and helped us expand on them while letting us express it in our own personalized, silly way. There were moments I would cry and there were moments I would laugh so hard I would cry – the classroom was always inviting. Justin’s demeanor is kind, inviting, playful, and expansive.
I adored everything about this class and what Justin brought with it. I recommend Justin’s clowning class for anyone who wants to re-awaken the child in them and to expand deeper into the depths of their most care-free, impulsive artistry.
-Kitty P.

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