Notts clowns have spoken out against so-called 'killer clowns' marginalising the kind characters they perform.
Clowning tutors Angela Schofield and Amanda Hayes at Red Herrings, which runs workshops around the Nottingham area, say the frightening youths in costume spotted scaring people around the country this week, 'couldn't be further' from what clowning is really about.
They said: "It's obviously a horrible thing that people are doing. It's not a nice thing to be happening in the world.
"These are the obvious Stephen King clowns, and we know that some people find the white face and painted on expression scary.
"In a way these people are hiding behind a mask to do scary things, but for us clowning is more about unveiling ourselves.
People kind of know what we do and it couldn't be more of an opposite to what is going on at the moment."
The history of clowning as an art form has revolved around cultural observation, satire and using physicality to open people up.
Amanda added: "Clowning is about spotting something and showing the absurdity of life'
"The clown archetype we work with comes form the European genre - like the Slava Snow Show, which has been to the Royal Centre in Nottingham. Slava is a Russian clown who takes you into different worlds."
The professional clowns, and 'clowning facilitators’ offer clown workshops to all types of people including stage performers, and also introduce clowning to people as a form of self development - a 'bit like yoga' - but with comedy.
She added: "We do workshops with people who are finding their inner clown, by finding your vulnerabilities and playfulness and that' s how the laughter comes."
Angela added: "They're not really clowns - they're intention is to scare people and freak them out and that couldn't be further from the opposite of what clowning is about.
I wouldn't want someone to be scared of a clown.
"I would urge these people to take off their masks and stop scaring people - have the courage to show their faces and find their true inner clown."