Our drama teacher and professional actor Claire talks about what inspired her to become an actress, what she loves about her job and how drama classes can benefit children.
1. What inspired you to become an actor and how long have you been working professionally in the industry?
I’m from Wolverhampton, and I first got interested in acting when I did work experience at the Harrow Arts Festival. I got to talk to professional actors for the first time and they told me about the realities of the industry. I also did several plays with the Central Youth Theatre in my teens and a play at the Birmingham Old Rep, The Love of the Nightingale. I’ve been earning a living from acting for almost 20 years… that’s a bit scary actually!
2. What do you love the most about acting?
I like the varied locations, activities and people. It never gets boring. And when you get the chance to tell a unique, interesting or exciting story with a well-defined character to as many people as possible.
3. What made you decide to start teaching? And how long have you been working at the Anna Fiorentini school?
I find that teaching helps me find equilibrium in the highs and lows of an acting career. It also reminds me of what I should be doing when playing a character, stops me being lazy – if I am teaching my student to prep a script fully, then I’ve got to do it too! I’ve been working on and off for AF since 2014.
4. How do you think drama classes benefit children?
I think drama classes benefit children in several ways. Firstly, drama classes help with confidence in speaking in public, and more generally in terms of expressing themselves. It can be therapeutic emotionally when creating scenes to reflect their own life. They learn specific news skills which could either be used towards a career in the arts or could be transferable to a number of other fields, with improved communication and presentation skills.
5. What would you say is the most difficult part of your job? (as an actor and a teacher)
As an actor, the most difficult part of the job is keeping determined, positive and proactive. You’re not going to get every job you audition for and rejection can be hard.
As a teacher the most difficult thing is to keep finding something new and fresh in what you’re teaching… even if it’s a technique you’ve taught to other kids many times before. If you’re not enthused by it, they won’t be. So, I try to keep classes as explorative as possible. I’ve learnt a lot over the years, but it good to admit you don’t know all the answers!