Clare Summerskill is a playwright, a director, an actress, a comedienne and a singer-songwriter. As well as writing and directing plays for Artemis, she regularly performs her own one-woman comedy shows and tours them to theatres internationally. Clare has written and produced several plays and films in the verbatim theatre style including Hearing Voices and Gateway to Heaven and she has also written for sketch shows for BBC Radio 4 which include Weekending and Heated Rollers. Prior to setting up her own company, she worked with Pam Schweitzer for many years as an actress, writer and director for the London reminiscence theatre company, Age Exchange.
Plays Clare has written include An Evening with Katie’s Gang, performed at Oval House, directed by Kate Crutchley and shortlisted for the Drill Hall New Playwriting Awards. For Age Exchange Theatre Company she wrote Once Upon A Lifetime, and co-wrote Memory Lane, Winter Warmers and the second tour of Just Like the Country.
She has also written several commissioned plays for the social sector. For the NHS she wrote and, with members of her theatre company, performed two short plays: One was for a Chief Nursing Officers Conference and the issues that were addressed dramatically were around Inequality and Social Exclusion. The other NHS play was performed to nurses at a national NHS conference, the theme being “Shifting The Balance Of Power”. Issues covered in this piece included Primary Care Trusts, Strategic Health Authorities and Securing Clinical and Professional Leadership. For Mosaic Housing Association Clare produced a short play addressing issues concerning older tenants. Areas covered in this piece included Housing Associations’ communication with older tenants.
For an Age Concern, National AGM, Clare, in partnership with Women And Theatre, wrote a short play addressing issues such as images of older people in the media, grey power, the financial and emotional costs of nursing home provision, older people and sexuality and older people’s transport needs.
In 2011 in association with Pascal Theatre Company, Clare worked with a group of older LGBT people in Camden looking at concerns about their sexual orientation and being in need of care in later life. From six drama workshops, spanning six weeks, Clare wrote a script called Staying Out Late from the participants’ improvisations and personal stories, as well as from her own research and the show was performed by the participants themselves at The Drill Hall, London.
In 2012 Artemis worked in association with the LGBT Disabled group Regard to create a show based on the improvisations by, and stories from, participants in six drama workshops. The show was called Vis A Visibility and was directed and scripted by Clare.
Clare Summerskill’s published works include We’re the Girls! (Diana Publishing 2008) Hearing Voices, a play based on service users’ experiences of the mental health system (Tollington Press 2010) and Gateway to Heaven – Fifty Years of Lesbian and Gay Oral History (Tollington Press 2012). She was also one of the contributors to A Time to Share. Powerful Personal Stories for Teaching History and Citizenship. Ed. David Savill with Bernie Arigho, Pam Schweitzer and Clare Summerskill. Age Exchange Publications: 2002
Articles Clare has written include: Performing Our Experience. Asylum, the Magazine for Democratic Psychiatry. Summer 2013. Vol 20. Number 2. And Recollections from older lesbians of clubs, pubs, political groups and movements up to the 1980s. Diva Magazine. March 2013. She has also written a chapter in a forthcoming publication by Karnac called: “Hearing Voices: Creating Theatre from Stories Given by Mental Health Service Users.” Eds: Karen Partridge and Sue McNab. Inside Out/Outside In: Creative Positions in Adult Mental Health. Karnac.
talks and presentations
Clare is currently working on a PhD at RHUL researching the journey of a contributor to a piece of verbatim theatre and intends to publish her findings at a later date. She delivers talks on creating verbatim theatre to universities and health conferences and other interested organisations. For any inquiries contact email@example.com. More information can be found at www.claresummerskill.co.uk.