Interview with Clare Cameron || Actor & Founder of Abooo Theatre

Name: Clare Cameron

What do you do? How would you describe your working life? 

I’m an actor and, most recently, founder of Abooo Theatre. I also programme and facilitate workshops for The Actors Guild North-West and work for Interact Stroke Support as a reader and team leader. My working life is eclectic, fulfilling and requires good time management and discipline.

Did you show any early signs as a child that indicated that you would end up where you are today? 

I remember the careers advisor telling me that if I had answered that I was happy to work night-times my perfect job would be a journalist. As a school kid, I didn’t know that not working 9-5 was an option or that my propensity for late-night reading was probably a good indicator that I was never going to be a 9-5er! That said, it was at the age of 8 when my sister and I got sent to acting classes to build our confidence that I knew I wanted to be an actor.

Describe your morning routine

I have a baby – there’s none!

Where do you get your ideas/inspiration from and when do they arrive? 

My inspiration for Abooo Theatre came one night when I was trying to get my relatively newborn son off to sleep. It was an accumulation of an idea I’d had knocking around in my head since he was born which was basically a potential monologue about that situation: I’ve still not written it!  Abooo was also inspired by the Mothers Who Make first meeting at HOME, the @PIPA campaign, the babes-in-arm show Lungs which played at The Lowry on our first wedding anniversary which my husband and I took our 6 wk old son to and I am generally most inspired by and admiring of anyone who didn’t like the status quo and rather than bemoan it, simply changed it. Nowadays I’ve noticed my ideas arrive when I ‘m doing something totally unrelated to workie flopping around in a jacuzzi, driving, swimming.

When motivation wavers, how do you get back on track? 

I talk to people about whatever’s worrying me. I’ve had to impress upon myself that it’s OK to ask for help and to keep practicing that: there are so many wonderful people in this industry who are happy to help and offer advice – especially in Manchester where I’ve found the acting and theatre community to be so incredibly generous with support and guidance.

What is the best thing about your job/lifestyle? 

I’m happy! Being an actor allows me to use all my good qualities so, whilst I’m intelligent and a good organiser for example, only acting allows me to use my creativity and instincts as well as those other things.

If you could do something else for the day- what would you do? 

Actually, thinking about it now, when I was younger I really admired Kate Adie so maybe there is a journalist in me trying to get out! Yep, foreign correspondent would be pretty cool.  Though I went back to uni while I was pregnant and did a law conversion degree which I really enjoyed: I wouldn’t want to do it for a living though – far too much wearing of sober dress and adherence to traditions for my liking!

How do you overcome any challenges in your working life? 

Research, seek guidance, think laterally.

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How do you celebrate your successes? 

Moderately I think and probably not enough: usually just a takeaway or a G&T!

Do you have any tools/resources or rituals that you couldn’t live without? 

My phone and laptop obviously. I’ve used Boomerang for Gmail for some time but it has seriously come into its own since I’ve become a parent – the ability to write an email at whatever godforsaken time of night it’s fluttering around my brain or in a snatched moment of nap time and schedule it to send during working hours is a brilliant thing. And the post it notes program for laptops – I have them all over my desktop. And the lists app on my phone. I am a big fan of technology and remote working.

Which books from your bookcase would you recommend? 

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron (no relation!) – I recall it being a great focuser/liberator. Although I should confess that I haven’t managed to finish a single book since my son was born, well, not one that wasn’t a play. I almost finished Barack Obama’s biography when I was on a 2 week holiday before Christmas.  I highly recommend that actually, he had an extraordinary upbringing and his Mum sounded amazing: when they moved to Indonesia and she realised he wasn’t getting a good education, she got him up at 4 or 5 every morning before school to school him herself. By their own admissions neither of them enjoyed it but boy it paid off!

What are your daily essentials to make you feel ready? 

Usually, one cup of good coffee a day, a decent shower and, nowadays, make-up.

What advice would you give your teenage self? 

Don’t be afraid to be different; it should be celebrated and embraced. Aim high and pursue what you want. Work smart not hard to earn money. Travel.  Don’t change your plans to travel (especially not because of a boyfriend!). Save money.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Just because you’re good at languages doesn’t mean you have to be an air-hostess. Take your place in the world. Did I mention travel!?

Where would you like to be in 5 years time? 

Somewhere warm with a pool and a glittering acting career please! With our gorgeous, loving family still happy and healthy and flourishing. And bilingual.

Picture of Clare is by Tony Blake.