Spotlight On: Clare Kerrison

Clare Kerrison front, Liam Kelly on keys.jpg

Clare Kerrison is an experienced improv teacher, performer and arts administrator. Since returning to Wellington in 2016, she has become the improv teacher for Basejump Improv, performed with Wellington Soap Factory (Lyall Baywatch, Deep Space Naenae) developed her solo show (Clare Kerrison's Infernal Recall) and created a plus-one act (Meet Cute).

Tell us a bit about your show and the idea behind it, and why/how it excites you.
The show I developed with the Cambridge Improv Factory (UK) is 'The Village' and it was really popular there. It's an improvised play and I like it because it's about local community.  Those ordinary but slightly quirky people we all know next door, and how they deal with each other.  It's a really great opportunity for the improvisors to get into characters, quickly create long term relationships and friendships with the other characters and then find out how they cope with change.  Because something is about to change... and we all know that anything can happen in a village!

What show other than your own are you most excited to see? Why?
Plot Mess led by Rik Brown. It sounds delightfully messy but with Rik Brown at the helm it will be delightfully genius.

What's the best thing about improv?
Connecting in real time, face to face in moments of pure surprising joy.

How would you describe your personal improv style?
I'm a bit of facial expression clown at times - i tend to react physically and emotionally before I think what to say and I can say as much with an economical shrug or silent mime as a word-smith improvisor can say in a paragraph. It's been fun over the years challenging myself to play with words: metaphor, Shakespeare and even rhyming while singing! No style is better though folks,  it takes all types to make up a strong improv team :)

Weirdest/best way improv has helped you in daily life?
I say 'yes' to a whole bunch of things now that I'm not sure how I'm going to do. Improv has taught me to trust that I and whoever I'm working with will find a way. And we usually do.

What's going on in the improv world where you are?
WELLINGTON is where it's at baby!  Let's get over that old notion that NZ is a catch-up backwater because world class improv is happening right here!

What's going to be the NEXT BIG THING in improv?
Imagine seeing a live performance by avatars inside worlds created in the moment by a VJ. Or live humans onstage with a hologram being projected by an improviser on the other side of the world. Yes, please.

Any Improv/Theatre/Comedy heroes?
My heroes are every single beginner who walks nervously but bravely into their first improv class and walks out again with the laughter of human possibility on their face.

Clare directs The Village at BATS Theatre, 8pm Tuesday 17 October. Our full programme runs 17-21 October, and tickets are on sale now!