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Introducing Claire Cohen, an all round entertainer!

Actress and performer Claire Cohen
cta 2014

How and when did you first get into performing?

I have always loved performing whether it be on the stage or playing the violin and singing. I suppose my first role was playing a mother in our preschool concert but my first real acting role was when I was chosen to play a dwarf in Snow White and the Seven Dwarves In Space when I was 7. I loved every minute of it. The rehearsals gave us a sense of belonging as all ages worked together and teachers helped with costumes and set design. I had a lot of fun having makeup and beards drawn on us and the actual performances gave me a real buzz. It was so popular they even put on an extra matinee performance. There was something there between us and the audience and it was exciting to have the audience interaction especially when some of the set did not work and doors had to be knocked open or fell down. In high school, I entered the Shakespearean Festival and our duo logue went on to win the Regional Competition. I had a stint as a back-up singer in a production of the Wiz and really became involved in all aspects of drama performance. Also, I was always in public speaking and debating so I used every opportunity to perform before an audience and develop my voice. I also entered Tournament of Minds which we won using my music and creativity to help solve a Mathematics and Engineering Problem where we had to make up a play which would solve and use the problem we had been presented with. It’s amazing what some acting and playing the french horn can do! Outside school, I entered eistedfodds and won my section in musical comedy, poetry reading.

Who were some of your biggest inspirations?

Heath Ledger. My dad, his generosity of spirit is something I want to put into my work and life. His parents went through a terrible divorce and he is now a criminal and family lawyer because he never wants a kid to go through what he went through. Also loved Judy Garland and grew up watching her movies.

What kind have training have you done?

I studied drama at school but wanted to extend my experience and expertise so I applied for a summer school at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art(RADA) in London. I was accepted so flew to London on my own at 15 stayed in the student accommodation and really embraced the course. One was Shakespearean interpretation and involved stage fighting. The other course I enrolled in, was modern text. I also took violin, flute, piano, french horn, pipe organ and singing training. My big decision was to study at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts (AADA) in New York City. I had researched so many schools and the alumni of each one. AADA has so many impressive graduates from Grace Kelly, Lauren Bacall to Paul Brody, Deborah Lee Furness and Kim Catrall. I was at school studying for my final exams (Higher School Certificate) but had to prepare an audition, write my goals. I was so happy, excited and nervous when I was accepted. I was even more over the moon when I realized I had won a scholarship based on my audition! After graduating I was accepted into the New York Academy Theatre Company. I also continued to have singing lessons first with David Armstrong, then with Jennifer Smolos. It is so important to keep the voice trained as so many actors such as Hugh Jackman agree that it is another instrument that has to be kept in order. Larry Moss Intensive was extraordinary as well as studying script analysis with Deborah Aquila.

What has been your favorite role to play so far?

Tilda in Echoes by N. Richard Nash, I was a mental patient in a room with another patient and I loved exploring her hidden depths and paths. I’m attracted to characters that aren’t necessarily perceived as normal.

Who would be your ideal co-star and why?

Joaquin Phoenix. I love and admire him. I love that he is still searching for his idea of perfection in every role and that he is open about his insecurities during the process.

What are your plans for the future?

To keep molding, refining my craft and work in my field. Acting is my great love!

What is your advice to aspiring performers?

To never give up, always keep trying, training and having a go at everything. You just don’t know what opportunities may come up, who you might meet, who will inspire you or give you ideas about performance that you can bring to your craft. I have loved acting since I first walked on that stage at 7 and I have spent my life looking for opportunities to perform, to learn at new schools and to extend my range. Everything you do is important. Most of all, believe in yourself. It is hard work and there are days when nothing seems to go right but just believe and keep trying..

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