Magdalena Schamberger is originally from Austria, has lived in France and the USA before settling permanently in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1995. She considers herself an Austro-Scot. Magdalena has over 25 years experience of performing, directing and teaching physical theatre and theatre clowning in the UK and internationally. She has trained with Philippe Gaulier, Monica Pagneux and at the Jacques Lecoq school (LEM), Paris, as well as with Pierre Byland, Switzerland, and Jos Houben (Theatre de Complicite, The Right Size). Her most recent freelance directing credits include ‘A Clean Sweep’ and 'By the Seat of your Pants' with Plutôt la Vie. However her work for UNESCO-Aschberg in Senegal in 1998 greatly shaped the direction she has taken over the past 15 years. Magdalena is Co-Founder of Hearts & Minds, the home of Clowndoctors and Elderflowers, has been its Artistic Director since1999 and became CEO in 2001. Both Hearts & Minds programmes use the performing arts to improve the quality of life for people in hospital and hospice care: Clowndoctors engage with sick children, children with complex special needs, blind children and children who have undergone traumatic experiences. The Elderflowers programme uses a unique clown family concept to connect with elderly people with advanced dementia. Elderflowers was developed in 2001, with the support of the Dementia Services Development Centre at the University of Stirling and it has gone on to inspire many other programmes and organisations across the globe. Magdalena has recently contributed a chapter called ‘Compassionate Clowning’ to the book ‘Providing Compassionate Health Care: Challenges in Policy and Practice’, published by Routledge in July 2014. In addition Magdalena is Chair of Imaginate, a unique organisation in Scotland, leading the promotion, development and celebration of the performing arts for children, and Vice Chair of EFHCO (European Federation of Hospital Clown Organisations), founded to protect and support professional clown work in a healthcare environment on a European level. EFHCO’s inaugural associates are drawn from hospital clown groups across Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Scotland, Spain and Switzerland.