Claire Eliza Willoughby

Claire Eliza Willoughby is a theatre maker, performer and musician based in Glasgow. Claire loves collaboration and play, video games, club culture, sensory experiences, queer horror, short story collections and reality tv.

Claire is one of the core artists of Snap-Elastic, an artist-led performance company based in Scotland. They make bold theatre, live art, cabaret, video and music, working collectively to imagine and produce art that disrupts convention and celebrates life. They collaborate with exceptional artists and technicians to make Gesamtkunstwerk – a total work of art where all elements come together to create beauty.

Claire trained at Ecole Philippe Gaulier in Paris, and continued her clown learning with Angela de Castro, Red Bastard and Spymonkey. Additional training includes the Meredith Monk Vocal Ensemble, Gob Squad, Marissa Carnesky and Company of Wolves. Claire was a Jerwood Fellow with Oily Cart and Imaginate from 2020 – 2022.

Claire’s first degree was in Music (Glasgow University), where she specialised in voice. As a classically trained singer, she is passionate about contemporary choral work, musical theatre, cabaret and pushing the boundaries of live vocal performance. Claire is constantly intrigued in the alternating ways we can layer different mediums in theatre over one another – a bit like a live canvas with different colours and paint brushes and textures of paint. And then scrape it back and reveal the canvas underneath.

In 2023, Claire was selected for Jerwood New Work Fund, which will support Claire to finish and present Dussskk – a multi-sensory musikdrama for disabled young people, specifically created for those who enjoy sound and seek sensory aural experiences. Claire started creating Dussskk as part of her Jerwood Fellowship, and is delighted that this fund will allow her to finish the development and premiere it to audiences.

Dussskk brings together singing, visuals and movement to explore some of the hormonal and physical changes that happen in adolescence. It is inspired by difficult transitional periods, emotional shifts and the magic of the inbetween. Dussskk will be an immersive, kinaesthetic experience with many facets of the performance coming together to envelop the audience, who can move freely amongst the performers.

When asked what she was looking forward to about her Jerwood New Work Fund project, Claire said,

I started conceiving Dussskk during lockdown, and the whole experience was a very solitary practice of researching, sketching, and recording my voice in layers to explore harmonies. Therefore, I am particularly excited to assemble a team of creatives and performers and to have space and time to play together, as well as going into a number of ASN schools to try out ideas and shape the piece with the young people’s input.

Claire Willoughby, Veronika in the Bath. Image by Rob Willoughby