A graduate of St. Olaf College and the National Theatre Institute, Claire currently works as performer, theater educator and administrator in the Twin Cities. She is passionate about the craft and advocacy of intimacy direction, and is currently pursuing work, training and eventual licensure in the field. Claire is also invested in consent-based approaches within education. Other passions include puppetry, poetry and creative play.
Can you describe the moment when you first knew you loved theater?
“I grew up in a musical family, so performing was always a possibility, but I never took a formal class until I got to college. I was involved in two productions my freshman year of college. It took so much of my time, but I looked forward to rehearsals every day. It felt like the day was building specifically towards that time. It was when I was most engaged and it was how my day ended, with this particular kind of excitement and focus. It felt new and specific.”
What have you learned from the students you’ve worked with?
“Students have taught me to be upfront about my own feelings and emotions. Vulnerability is powerful, not to weaponize those feelings, but knowing that it’s ok to voice those emotions. Also, the reminder from students that at the end of the day, we all want it to go well, but its more about the students’ experience. Not the parents. Or the school. Or yourself. It’s for the students. It doesn’t make sense to fight what they want to do.”
What advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?
“Not everything has to be a marketable skill. When I try new things in daily life, I have a fear that I won’t be good at it and won’t like it because I’m not good at it. Like I won’t be able to stand out. There’s this fear that you have to ‘contribute’ as opposed to just trying something new. You get in your own way a lot, and you don’t want your own artistry to get in the way of you being a person. Not everything you do has to advertise a skill set. It’s amazing to fail and be okay with it.”
What are you most looking forward to this year as a Teaching Artist in Residence?
“I’m super excited for the chance to witness and participate in professionals talking to young people. I’m interested to get to talk to young people as an ‘older young person,’ to engage with young people who want to go into this profession or industry. I don’t like the hustle of the theater industry. I’m not drawn to that, but I don’t want to act like that’s not a worthwhile goal. Also, musical theater is not specifically my wheelhouse, but I respect the work and have a perspective on it.”