Interview: Clementine Mills

Clementine Mills is a writer and actor, and has previously reviewed for The LGBTQ Arts Review. She’s currently in rehearsals for Mutant Man, a play coming to The Space, London, from the 28th March. It’s a new piece, exploring trans identity and gender. This week LGBTQ Arts’ Amie Taylor interviewed her about this piece and her work further afield. 

AT: Can you start by telling us about you and how you came to work in theatre?

CM: I grew up in England and New Zealand then moved to Sydney at 18 for drama school and lived there until I was 24 when I moved back to London last year – so I’ve been quite nomad I guess! I started doing plays at school, mainly just for fun then got to an age where I realised that was actually what I wanted to do. I graduated Actors Centre Australia in 2012 and have been working in theatre and film since then.

AT: Tell us about Mutant Man, what’s it about? 

CM: It’s a new play by Aussie writer Christopher Bryant and it’s a really bold and brave rendition of the true story of Harry Crawford who lived at the turn of the 20th Century and was basically just trying to live a normal happy life as the person he knew he was in the face of adversity and ignorance in the 1920’s and the play is a really raw, unapologetic keyhole into his identity. It’s an exploration of the diversity of gender.

AT: Why’s it an important piece for 2017? 

CM: A century on from Harry’s time, the progress we’ve made in championing gender diversity is obviously notable but looking at the text, it’s terrifying just how many of the issues around awareness and acceptance remain relevant today; there are still some people who hold the same mindset and lack of knowledge as those 100 years ago and there’s something seriously wrong with that. The play also centres a lot around the law and its shortcomings at the turn of the last century but even today there are still so many limitations around the law and its treatment and understanding of gender diversity. We’re hoping the play can contribute to the discussion and reflection around this.

AT: What do you think / hope audiences will take away from watching?

CM: I think it will be eye opening and hopefully edifying especially for those who identify as cis-gender – the play really makes you reconsider your preconceptions about gender, sexuality and identity and I think that’s vital introspection, especially if – like myself – you’ve lived your whole life with the privilege of feeling as though your gender aligns with the sex that was assigned to you at birth. I hope it can invite cis people to really think about how they can better educate themselves to be strong Trans allies. For those who identify as trans or non-binary I hope it will be a vindicating experience, shining a long overdue spotlight on an under-represented – and often misrepresented – community. LGBTQ+ people on the whole are too often erased from mainstream theatre and as a proud gay woman I’m passionate about trying to redress that and I hope this play will be bolstering and inclusive for our gender diverse audience members. Gender affects everyone and we hope to contribute to the visibility and validity of the gender diverse experience.

AT: What’s next for you?

CM: We’ll be taking The Mutant Man to Edinburgh Fringe In August – it’s my first time performing in the Fringe which has been a dream of mine for a while so I’m really chuffed about that. I’m also looking forward to performing Pop-Up Shakespeare with Attila at the Rickmansworth Festival. Other than that I’m working on writing some short films and web content and focussing again on my writing for Heaps Gay – a rad Aussie based LQBTQ+ culture site.

You can keep up with my happy snaps on Instagram @clementine_sparrow. I’m pretty rubbish at Twitter but you can follow me if you like @ClementineM7 

Book to see Mutant Man at The Space (London) here

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