There is a saying, "The gift must always move." Movement is our birthright, a gift we share.   As a performer, master teacher, director and dramaturge, I want to open people to their gifts so that they can share those gifts with generosity, courage and joy. 


Burnt I; a danced trilogy of monologues set in a post-apocalyptic future on The Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia. 

Heartbreak Pajamas - everyone has a pair; a trilogy of solo performances that blend clown, dance, puppetry and storytelling.

Pigalle; the memories of a young juggler from a small Ohio town performing on the streets in Paris. Pigalle blends juggling, found objects as puppets and storytelling.


  • Creation workshops in circus arts, performance art, movement theatre and dance
  • C+L+O+W+N=? An exploration of circus clown and clown theatre
  • Points of View: An experiential introduction to Mary Overlie's 6 Viewpoints
  • Acting for Dancers
  • Movement Training for Actors
  • Everyday Poetry: found objects as puppets
  • Energy, Memory and Space: the creation of site specific performances

Exploration and Creation Residencies in Seaforth, Nova Scotia

Contact me here:


The comic talents of Rieder are so finely honed that one’s attention is drawn to the stage wondering what gag this clown is going to come up with next. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Vibrant, hilarious, eye-poppingly alive . . . packed with more theatrical imagination and artistry than some theatre companies achieve in a whole season. Funny and more. Go see it!”  (The Seattle Times)

Long, flexible dôté d’une physionomie unique, Rieder demeure un conteur hors-pair. Ses échanges avec les spectateurs provoquent immanquablement le rire.   ( La Presse, Montréal)

L’univers du Toc est à la fois chaotique et séduisant . . . un texte truffé d’images poétique et de jeux de mots. (La Presse, Montréal)

L’univers qui prend forme émerge comme le royaume du bric-à-brac. Don Rieder fait Docteur Toc un hurluburlu sympathique, sorte du professeur Mandibule de la Ribouldingue.  (Le Devoir, Montréal)

Rieder snatches Keaton from the jaws of death once again. He has a welcome knack of using misfortune as a springboard for some very agile comedy. (The Seattle Post)

There is a dark humor throughout the show and a compelling pace that lets us meditate on it as if it were a theatrical painting.   G (New York)

Docteur Toc est d’ailleurs beaucoup de monde à la fois: un clown, un réfugié, et un médecin qui fait une autopsie sur le présent. Il provoque le rire, mais nous force à réfléchir.  (Le Journal de Montréal)

. . . contemporary clown theater that revels in physical action, poetic images, and comic fantasy while it honestly deals with real emotion.  (Express News,  University of Alberta)


Part Zen, part Revolutionary, Don Rieder has a gift for helping students explore and discover their clown personas.  He possesses an energy and dynamic grace, yet there is a divine tenderness to how he works with others.

His classes emphasize simplicity, honest risk and above all, a sensitivity to inner self and one's outer space.   And he teaches the essentials of clowning: breathing, the charity of sharing and working from the heart.   

Don's students sail out of his classes, loose-limbed and looking enlightened; they have discovered a vulnerability in themselves previously unknown.   I witnessed this transformation myself when we were both on the faculty of a physical comedy workshop intensive in 2014.  Too bad I had to teach - I would have preferred to have taken his class!    

Karen Gersh, director/choreographer, visual artist

Don's Viewpoints Workshop was eye-opening for all of us. A very warm and engaging teacher, he brought the wealth and depth of decades of physical theatre practice to Mount Allison and opened up a new dimension of dramatic expression in our students. A very rewarding experience for all involved.

Dr. Cordula Quint
Associate Professor of Drama
Mount Allison University

Don's experience as a movement director for dance, theatre and circus gives him a wide pallet of information to draw from for his workshops, and he combines the genres in unique and fun ways! Don approaches his work with passion and curiosity. He has an intuitive sense for the body's modes of expression, grounded in a sound understanding of movement, and his vast experience as a teacher and performer. 

As a dramaturge Don helped me to fine tune my choreography, bringing out the meaning of the work through clarifying the physical and emotional intention of the movement. He helped the dancers to connect more fully to the choreography through both practical and poetic directives.   

Susanne Chui, Artistic Director, Mocean Dance

I've known Don Rieder and his work for nearly forty years and have great respect for his performing and his highly eclectic teaching, which draws upon a wide variety of theatre and movement disciplines. When I launched The (Very) Physical Comedy Institute last year, I was happy to be able to bring in Don as a master teacher. Many cited his class as one of their very favorites and expressed a desire to study with him again in the future.

Dr. John Towsen, Professor Emeritus

Author: Clowns: A Panoramic History (1976; 2015), All Fall Down: The Craft & Art of Physical Comedy (a blog at and Artistic Director: The First NY Clown-Theatre Festival, The (Very) Physical Comedy Institute, The New York Physical Comedy Lab