Life Tips: Clare Davidson, voice coach at the Poor School

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‘ I think houses are like people. With my house, I know every creaky floorboard, every brick’


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Clare Davidson:
Clare Davidson: ‘Look for something individual in everyone you meet.’ Photo: Tom Kihl
Clare Davidson has worked in theatre and film all her life as both a director and coach. She was one of the first women to direct a play in the West End, later working off-Broadway and teaching in colleges across the US. She has been Head of Voice at The Poor School on Pentonville Rd since 2009. Regular four-day taster courses take place throughout the year.

It’s essential to love what you do. I meet such varied people, from politicians and priests to corporate high flyers and of course actors; in fact, anyone who needs to use their voice in public. My work is a constant source of fascination, and I love seeing the vocal process helping people in their lives.

Acknowledge your own creativity. Spend time developing it.

Look for something individual in everyone you meet. Teaching at The Poor School, I work with an exciting cross section of types and ages. The enthusiastic beginner is as enthralling as those who’ve already made their mark. Sting used to jog to my house for sessions when embarking on his solo career from The Police and, years later, Orlando Bloom came to me before trying for drama school.

You've probably walked past it a million times: The Poor School
You’ve probably walked past it a million times: The Poor School
Roots are important. I love the fact I’ve lived in the same house in north London for over 30 years. The familiarity of the surroundings gives me contentment and a sense of security. I think houses are like people. With my house, I know every creaky floorboard, every brick.

Walking will keep you grounded. And in this area it’s a joy. Whatever the season, to go across Hampstead Heath to Kenwood for a cup of tea is always an inspiration. Or to Highgate Cemetery, where as I child I used to run through the catacombs, dared by a friend to look at the broken coffins.

Cultural diversity is exciting in this Age of Aquarius. My excitement is having a blonde-haired American grandchild and two brown-haired, half Arab/Malay ones here in Camden. Family encompasses the globe today and that’s a privilege to be cherished.

Don’t anticipate your own ageing. I honestly don’t feel any different now to when I was a student at LAMDA at 21. Engage with everything you do with energy and enthusiasm. And most importantly, laugh alot.

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Poor School is at 242 Pentonville Road N1 9JY. Find out more here

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