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Jeff Clark

image Jeff Clark

“It’s much easier to edit something you’ve written than write something good first time. Don’t get it perfect; get it done.”

How would you describe what you do?

I’m an improviser, comedian, playwright, storyteller, and performer. Basically, I make things up and hope people enjoy them.

What was your most recent project?

I’ve been lucky enough to perform in numerous shows this year – Scared Scriptless, comedy nights at Good Times Comedy Club and Wunderbar and a season of Twelfth Night at the Isaac Theatre Royal just before lockdown – but the most recent project that I was directly creatively responsible for was PRESENT, an improvised show inspired by giving gifts that I got to create with my lovely friend Laura Irish from Nelson.

What project have you worked on that you’re the most proud of?

I was working at The Court Theatre as the Communications Manager in 2011 and was involved in the post-quake fundraising campaign for “The Shed” in Addington, which was an amazing experience I never want to go through again. In terms of shows I’m proud of, creating the character “Gary Starlight” (who debuted at The Forge at The Court and went on to the World Buskers Festival as well as various festivals) has been a great accomplishment.

What is essential for creatives to have in their life?

Time and space.

What inspires you about Ōtautahi?

The opportunities and the spirit of collaboration within the artistic community. In particular, spaces such as Little Andromeda have made more opportunities for theatre creatives to develop and stage their own work.

What piece of advice about your creative work has served you well?

It’s much easier to edit something you’ve written than write something good first time. Don’t get it perfect; get it done.

What’s the biggest misconception about your creative work?

That it’s just making things up. The craft of improv and writing involves years building a toolbox of skills that you learn how to deploy at the right time.

What Christchurch artists do you most admire?

Michael Bell for his unrelenting support of the performing arts community; Kathleen Burns is a phenomenal actor about to direct for The Court Theatre; Emma Cusdin is a cracker to perform with; Derek Doddington is a dynamo; Julian Southgate is a set/prop design genius; GhostCat (Mike Beer) is doing phenomenal work.

What artwork/piece of music/performance has taken your breath away?

THE PRODUCERS in 2007 was a comedic spectacular – the scale of the musical on The Court’s stage at The Arts Centre meant at times it literally exploded off the stage

What do you wish you’d have known about creative work when you were younger?

Creative work is still work, so treat it like work. That doesn’t just mean take it seriously, but that it’s important to have a life outside of it. Define your hours (and your limits). Take time to do other things – rest, recharge, relationships. That will make your work better and you healthier. A lot of people wrap their identity in their work and end up burning out.

What’s your favourite hidden secret in Ōtautahi?

Pepper Bridge Indian Restaurant in Addington.

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