I’m Claire, and I write.
I grew up in South Wales, and studied English Literature at the University of Birmingham. For my MPhil, I wrote a thesis about early sixteenth-century English drama, delving into how morality plays and mystery cycles positioned their audiences. As soon as I finished my thesis, I volunteered as a writer with Mercy Ships, a charity providing free medical care and community development projects in West Africa. In Benin and Liberia, I wrote articles about people receiving life-changing surgery for cataracts, benign tumours and burns injuries. After leaving the ship, I wrote a monologue based on the lives of women I met in Liberia and saw it performed at Center Stage in New York.
I returned to the UK and began working with RPA in Birmingham, writing material for tours in primary and secondary schools. Topics ranged from young people’s employment rights to unhappy mermaids, from celebrity culture to lost bears. I also wrote two series of a soap opera-style show for Spring Harvest, and two TV show spoofs that were performed by young people to raise money for projects in Uganda.
I moved to London – more specifically, to Southall, in its western edge – and continued to write. As well as writing and performing pieces about bees, frogs and spiders at Wolf Fields, an urban nature reserve, my work featured in short script readings at Stitchin’ Fiction and 29 Plays Later. To coincide with the commemorations of the First World War, I researched the life of Ernie Rudd, a young man from Southall who was killed at the Battle of the Somme. My play about his life was performed on Remembrance Sunday by a cast of local people in the church he had attended, and where his name is displayed on the war memorial.
While based in London, I continued to write sketches for performance at mac in Birmingham, wrote a short story for the Christmas carol service at Jazz Community Church, participated in Pensive Federation’s Significant Other Festival at the Oldham Coliseum, and wrote and directed five short pieces for a charity conference in Thailand. And raised over £185,000 for a football-based youthwork project in Southall through writing grant applications to charities and other funders.
I came back to South Wales, where I’m closer to family and to the sea. I was a finalist in the TicketSource Best Writing Award at the Cardiff Fringe Theatre Festival, won first prize in the Flash Fiction category of the Aber Valley Arts Festival and was Highly Commended in the National Flash Fiction Day Microfiction Competition. My current projects include workshops for the Penrhys Pilgrimage Way, online articles for TicketSource, performance poetry for Big Start Assemblies and editing private handwritten letters from a Scottish boarding school in the 1950s.
I’m Claire, and I write.