In day eight of our ‘Love the Arts’ feature, we chat to captivating actress and director Clare Mortimer.
What do you love about performing?
Nothing and everything. On a daily basis I berate myself for this career path! So much so that for nearly three years I didn’t perform live at all. I am an anxious and nervous actor – I love a long frock so the audience can’t see my legs quiver. What I love? Why do I do it? I am in love with live art. Breathing together, audience and actor (dancer, musician). A director feels this also. We may not be on the stage, but it is our work with the company that is out there under scrutiny. I take every breath with my cast, hang on every pause. Nothing I have done in film or television meets this dreadful yet beautiful demand.
When last was I part of a live performance?
ThinkTheatre concluded its KZN season of Hamlet and Othello in March 2020, a few days before hard lockdown. I direct and co-produce (with Margie Coppen), but also play Gertrude in Hamlet and Emilia in Othello. That was the last time I performed before an audience. ThinkTheatre went on to make films of both these Shakespeares in July. It was wonderful to work with our great company again, even if for an audience of two camera operators and some tech crew. Before that it was Private Lives for KickstArt in September 2019.
Wishes for 2021?
They never change. Since 2003 I have been asked this question. I dream of a day when Arts are given the same attention as sport. When there are as many pages in newspapers devoted to the arts as there are for sport. When the government of SA understands that we are an artistic nation and that is a treasure to be nurtured. When aspiring young artists are given access and assistance to government sponsored institutions where they are able to grow, instead of closed doors and red-tape and lip-service. I could go on and on.

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