Lola Claire is an American Canadian Actress, and a former student of East 15 Drama School. She co-founded Windward Collective and has recently performed at Southwark Playhouse with ‘Anonymous is a Woman Theatre Co.’ as well as presented at the She Lives festival.
We met at the preview of ‘Moonstruck’, which took place at Hackney Showroom. The play depicted the relationship between the sun and the moon; capturing the universal concept of falling in love, but with a unique twist. I was excited to meet her and hear her story so far.
We are at the preview of ‘Moonstruck’ – tell us how you got to this moment and your journey so far.
I came here about 3 years ago from Vancouver, to join an international Drama school called East 15. The course was a mix between the traditional BA acting course and contemporary theatre. We did a lot of classical training and a lot of writing and creating of our own work. During this time, we put on a festival showcasing our new work, and ‘Moonstruck’ was one of the pieces we performed. From there, a group of us formed a company called Windward Collective to carry on working together.
Let’s talk about your current show, Moonstruck. How would you describe the play?
An immersive piece that takes you through the universe to follow the love story of the sun and the moon. They might catch glimpses of each other but only fully come together when there’s a solar eclipse. I won’t give anymore away!
Moonstruck – Hackney Showroom 15.02.18
How is Windward Collective going for you?
Pretty good! We were quite lucky as a new company, we got funding and were given a grant from the university. We hire the space here at Hackney Showroom for previews, and then in March we’ve got two shows at the Oval House.
What else do Windward Collective have coming up?
We’re all focusing on writing new material and I performed my own monologue on gender equality at the Southwark Playhouse last week. It was a night hosted by a theatre company called ‘Anonymous is a Woman Theatre Co.’ called 50/50. It was about gender equality and the cast was split 50/50 – male and female. Also, a member of Windward, has a written and produced a play called ‘Pristine’. It’s about a dystopian future where a woman tries to remove the ability to love. She thinks that life will be better if you don’t have to go through the pain and struggle, but you also don’t have all the good stuff.
What aspects did you focus on in your monologue about gender equality?
I’d say the main focus was about sexual objectification; it was spoken word monologue. I grew up in San Diego, California, where the culture was quite influential growing up, in both positive and negative ways. So, the monologue was mostly about being seen as an objective sexual interest growing up and questioning how it becomes engrained into you and within our culture.
It made me question why none of us feel in control of ourselves and our sexuality. I also hit on the point that men also feel they have to behave and act in certain ways, especially with their sexuality. No one is really that happy with the situation, yet everyone is doing what they’ve been taught and what they think is socially acceptable. I think it’s great that society is now questioning this so much.
Janelle Monae – Times Up @Refinery29 Instagram
Do you have any ideas on how we as a society can tackle the issue of gender inequality?
I think a way of introducing it would be when children are very young. For example, in children’s catalogues in Scandinavia, they show little boys playing with toys that might be traditionally more feminine and vice versa. It’s not looked upon as Bizarre there and it’s ok to be a stay at home dad, just as it’s ok to be a stay at home mum. Everyone is a human and does what’s right for them, not for a certain gender.
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
It’s hard, sometimes it just comes to you and you feel the urge to write it down! Whilst other times, you have to sit and relax and enjoy it. I find the Tube is great because you have to have stillness, you can’t be distracted by other things. You have to let yourself sit and just be.
Tell us about your experience of being an actor in London?
To be honest, really good in comparison to other cities that I’ve lived in so far. I find people are really interested in collaborating and you meet people who are excited and passionate about their work. I’ve never found it too quiet or uninspiring, you’re always meeting different people. At the minute I’m lucky to be busy with acting and art related work, but when I’m not, I work as a TA at a special needs school and I find that fulfilling.
@lolartclaire – instagram
How do you find juggling your job with your passion?
Ok. Sometimes it’s hard when it’s a slow week and you have to go and audition straight after work; you’re knackered, and a kid dumped a bowl of flour on you that day! That happened recently which was funny.
Which platforms/ groups do you use to collaborate with others?
There’s a group on Facebook called ‘Bossy’ for women in film/theatre/performing arts. I’ve met some really cool people on there.
Other than that, I think it’s about going to see stuff and getting involved in things you’re interested in. I recently presented a festival called She Lives, in Brick lane which was a female -based film festival. It’s all new work produced and directed by females. It was specifically in reaction to the Me Too and Times Up movements. You get to meet lots of people in the industry. So, I recommend going to things you’re interested in because you never know who you might meet. You have to be brave and go for it (which can be scary but it’s worth it!).
Where can we find you on social?
Instagram and Twitter: @Lolartclaire
‘Moonstruck’ is showing at The Oval House on 7th and 8th March
Visit Windward Collective to get tickets and find out more. Check them out on Instagram @windwardcollective and Twitter @windwardcompany
Ready for random …
What’s your favourite place to escape to in London?
The South Bank. Love getting down by the Thames and being by the water. It feels nice to be by the life blood of this city. It makes me feel so small, but a part of something too.
Your favourite film?
Things that make you smile …
The ocean, my little brother, nature and animals in generally haha.