OutdoorArtsUK Member in the Spotlight:
Jackie is the director of Clementines Live Arts
(First published April 2019)
How did you first get involved in Outdoor Arts?
I have been a clown for as long as I can remember! I started seriously practicing during secondary school maths lessons! In 2013 I started getting paid to perform and went on my first tour with Gypsy Disco. In 2016 I quit the day job as a youth worker and have scraped a living out of my performance ever since!
What is one of your earliest memories of Outdoor Arts?
I grew up going to music festivals and juggling conventions so many of my earliest memories are of incredible outdoor shows. That either means I saw a lot of them or they just stuck in my head more than my more mundane childhood experiences! Probably a bit of both… I will never forget seeing the Jaipur Kawa brass band for the first time: a truly epic spectacle!
What performance or Outdoor Arts experience has made a big impression on you?
I am a bit of a newbie on the outdoor arts scene to be honest (hence being a new OutdoorArtsUK member!) My performance background has come from inside touring theatre and our very British ‘build a fence around it ‘ style festival! Creating my own street show was originally just a way of making money whilst on the road between festivals. I have made every mistake a busker can make and had crowds walk away in France, Belgium, Spain and Portugal! Strangely this has made me fall more and more in love with the idea of outdoor arts and now I don’t want to perform anywhere else. I have had my eyes massively opened when performing at events such as the Marvao Feira da Castanha to how beautiful and inclusive outdoor arts can be. I can’t wait to explore more of it now I have my own touring outdoor shows. It turns out you can have a festival without building a fence around it!
What’s the best artistic advice you’ve been given?
The best artistic advice I have ever been given is that you can learn something from everyone you meet. Not just the people you expect to learn from!
Where do your ideas come from?
That is a philosophical question! Are our ideas really ours? Do they come from within or from the outside? I think if we are honest we are all actually copying each other more than we like to let on. If I have seen further than most it is because I am standing on the shoulders of giants. If (slightly more realistically) I have seen about as far as everyone else it is because I can’t see much further down than the shoulders I am directly standing on!
I genuinely believe everything is a remix and the key to creating ‘original’ work is to draw inspiration from art forms as far from your own as possible! If you are making a juggling show then copy a carpenter, an operatic singer and a lighting designer! My biggest creative passion is making unusual artistic combinations.
What’s your top tip to someone wanting to work outdoors for the first time?
Busk! Try doing a street show a long way from your own home community and somewhere where there is not an established culture of busking (like big cities). Don’t tell anyone you are doing it! Experience the genuine ‘invisibility’ of being a random person on the street and contrast it with the ‘visibility’ when you start performing. You will find the warmest and most ruthless audiences you have ever experienced and if it all goes wrong NO ONE WILL EVER KNOW! No one who know you anyway!
What’s your funniest or most bizarre Outdoor Arts experience?
Really hard to say as I have busked extensively in some random places! Waltzing (badly) with a 60+ year old woman in Coimbra in Portugal stands out. She marched onto stage and took my hand and we got a bigger round of applause than anything else I had done that day!
Describe a current project or future piece of work that you’re really excited about.
The solo show which I am touring this summer is called Stop NOT Being Silly! It is certainly my proudest artistic achievement to date. It is the first show which I have made explicitly for outdoor touring and it is very silly! It is somewhere between a philosophy lecture for kids and a circus theatre show! After becoming a parent myself and touring festivals with my partner and two kids in our little van I decided to make a show specifically for family audiences. I have seen many family shows packed with jokes for the adults which the kids don’t get. This is my genuine attempt to reverse that and laugh along with the kids at the adults’ expense! I have received some genuinely heart-warming reviews so far and can’t wait to take this show around the circuit this summer!
What do you think are the opportunities available now for the sector?
I have found lots of opportunities open up so far in my short outdoor arts journey but I have not been involved long enough to comment on the sector at large.
What do you see as your biggest challenges and how do you plan to meet them?
Touring with my family. School is looming!
Who inspires you in your work?
Wow, what a question! Everyone! Charlie Chaplain, Akala, Reggio Emilia and Arcadia are the first few to come!
How do you follow what’s happening in the Outdoor Arts and cultural sectors? What blogs, tweeters, websites and organisations do you recommend?
What non-Outdoor Arts performance has made a great impression on you?
Akala’s Hiphop Shakespeare Company stands out. A truly phenomenal level of mixed-medium creativity…
Name a great book, film, concert or other cultural experience that you’ve enjoyed in the past couple of years…
Harold and Maude might just be the best film ever made! It is that or The Blues Brothers…
Who would you have at your dream picnic? Pick 3-5 people (living/dead/real/fictional)…
Einstein, Tom Bombadil (Lord of the Rings) Aretha Franklin and Gautama Buddha…
Any top tips for Outdoor Arts practitioners?
Probably too early in my career to say except just get out there and do it!