My Plymouth: Claire Summers

My Plymouth: Claire Summers

Claire came to Plymouth from Liverpool to pursue a BA (Hons) Dance Theatre. After graduating, as Plymouth was on the verge of becoming a centre of dance in the South West, she got one job after another before starting her own dance company, and she hasn’t looked back. We talked to her about the arts scene that keeps her here and the best places in town to get a dance fix…

Claire Summers

Why did you decide to stick around?
I was all set to move back to Liverpool, but I got the perfect job working for Plymouth Dance teaching in a special needs school. At the same time some fellow dance graduates and I decided to set up Exim, the dance company I still lead, and staying just seemed like the right thing to do. Things were really starting to bubble up in Plymouth within the dance scene and I wanted to be a part of that. Plymouth will always be home.

What’s the arts scene like?
The Plymouth scene is ever-growing, which is so exciting to be a part of as it really wasn't like this five years ago. Having worked on national projects, I can safely say that the dance network here in the South West is the best in the country, providing so many fantastic opportunities from networking to funding to performances. With Arts Council England focusing on art being made outside of London, it really is a great time to be an artist in the South West.

Where is the best place to find dance and theatre in Plymouth?
Oh, tricky one. The House was built for dance and it shows. Exim loved performing there and their dance programme is excellent this season. The Barbican Theatre is also one of my favourite venues. As well as supporting local companies like mine they showcase some really interesting small-scale touring dance pieces. They often work with new choreographers and companies, supporting them early on in their development. The Theatre Royal is where you go to see the large scale touring performances – next season they have two of my favourites, Hofesh Shechter Company and Netherlands Dance Theatre, I can't wait.

What’s your favourite thing to do in Plymouth during the winter?
Walking my dog on the beach. The summer is great but I prefer it when it’s a bit quieter and there aren't so many people around.

Where do you go when you want to get away from it all?
I head up to Dartmoor. I love how close Plymouth is to the best camping and surfing spots, so I try and get away as much as I can.

Where’s the best Sunday Roast?
The best place has to be The Plume of Feathers up in Princetown on Dartmoor. My Mum lived there when she was a girl. I love going up there for a walk then going to the pub to warm up with a roast.

After being away, what do you look forward to most when you get home?
Over the past few years my work has taken me to Vienna, Ghana, Seattle, Dusseldorf and all over the UK. I love getting back and going for a walk on the Hoe and having a coffee at The Terrace Café.

Student Life magazine: Spring 2016 issue 2