An interview with teacher and performer Emile Clarke on inclusivity, creativity and mental health and how he stays young in mind and spirit.
The Children’s Mental Health Week theme this month was Express Yourself with the aim of helping children express themselves and their emotions through the arts and creativity. We couldn’t have been more happy with this and we really threw ourselves into the arts over on our Positive Doodle Diary Instagram Account. As well as spending a lot of time singing and doodling, we also brought in the wonder that is Emile Clarke for some positive energy and serious dance moves!
We asked him to put together a dance routine for both kids and adults to groove along to Charles Wright’s Express Yourself as a way to shift our energy and feel happy. You can catch his moves on our IGTV here if you missed it!
Emile is a LIPA trained performer with teaching qualifications and extensive experience within theatre for corporate and creative purposes. From performing with Disney to devising and co-writing Theatre In Education, he’s passionate about creating positive learning environments and encouraging storytelling techniques that stimulate ambition and encourage conscious development of performance and social skills. Emile also designs workshops for institutes that champion equality and diversity in film and theatre such as Picture House Cinema group, Refugee Youth, Museum of London and The Egg Theatre Royal in Bath.
Here Emile talks about inclusivity, creativity and mental health and staying young in mind and spirit.
1: How would you describe your work in a few sentences?
I’m an Actor, Writer, Educator and more, but it really all comes down to storytelling.
2: Why do you choose to work with kids?
I work with all age groups from toddlers to 79 year olds, but working with young people inspires me to keep my own sense of wonder. I'm passionate about inclusion and delivering tools that enable young people to cultivate their own inclusive spaces and become examples of how to champion acceptance rather than shame.
3: What do you hope your work will achieve for them?
I’m all about authenticity and guess my greatest hope is for people to learn to love who they are. To actualise the best version of themselves and enable others to do the same.
4: How would you say your work boosts children’s mental health?
I teach young people (and remind old people) that failing is how we learn. I help to create opportunities through play for them to take ‘risks' and fail and be supported in a time where shame is usually the ruler. I find that creativity and play are abundant when inventing in spaces where listening, accepting and offering is the foundation.
5: Tell us the funniest experience you’ve had working with kids.
I can’t. I have laughed at so many incredible moments of ’self trust’ and ‘risk' paying off. Stories taking incredible turns and games leaving people of all ages in tears of laughter! But that’s why I love what I do. I get to play too.
6: What does playfulness mean to you and how important is it for both children and adults?
Play is everything. Observe the people who have forgotten how to play inclusively and you'll feel it's importance.
7: Your work with kids involves a lot of creativity but how do you fit creativity into your own life?
So many things! I write poetry. I invent characters. I create songs. I open kitchen cupboards and cook nameless dishes. I create confusion. I create lists that go on way toooo long...
8: What’s your go-to self-care tool?
Meditation, music, water (preferably in the form of a spa but in a glass will do).
9: What do you miss most about being a kid?
I AM A KID!
10: What’s your number 1 karaoke song?
What’s that song sung by thingeymabob that goes "Duuu duuu dum dee dee dee dee dee dea da da cuz ya know dooo da ddee oooo” …that one.
Note from the editor: If anyone recognises this, please drop us a line: The Positive Planner team is desperate to know what it is!
11: Bonus answer that Emile threw in for us. It’s up to you, dear reader, to work out what the question is. 🙂
Yes, definitely. But never on Tuesdays or if my laces are untied.