I can’t think of another local young actor who was starring in musicals along side adult actors at the age of 10, and holding their own so well everyone in the audience knew you were a natural onstage.
Jimi Kinstle, previous Producing Artistic Director at Pumpkin Theatre, has worked with Clare for years, has this to say about her, “Clare Peyton is such a lovely and talented young woman. Her performances always carry truth and honesty; it’s never forced or put on. It’s such a delight to work with such a young professional.” Jimi obviously agrees with my choice of our Rising Star this month.
When did you know you wanted to try acting?
I started dancing when I was about three years old, so I credit that for helping me have a natural stage presence. Along with enjoying being on stage, singing has always been one of my great passions as well. When I was in fourth grade at the Park School of Baltimore, where I am currently a sophomore, we were notified of auditions to be Munchkins in the Upper School production of The Wizard of Oz. That became my first stage production. After that, along with encouragement from my fifth grade teacher to further explore theatre, I knew I wanted to continue acting. So the following year I auditioned for Annie at my church, Memorial Episcopal Church, and ended up playing the role of Annie.
When did you realize that you have an exceptional singing voice?
Well I first realized that I absolutely adore singing when I was very young. Ever since singing nursery rhymes put to tunes at the age of about four, I knew I wanted to continue singing. I just got this unexplainable feeling on the inside whenever I was singing, and that continues to this day.
What was your favorite show to do, and why?
That’s a very tough question since I have loved so many of the productions I’ve been in. I’d have to say that I have a few favorite productions. One of my favorites was Into The Woods, when I played Cinderella. I adored the character and found that there was so much more to her than just a stereotypical princess. Also, Into The Woods as a show is so rewarding to watch, analyze, and perform in. It has so many themes to discover when you delve into the script, and it is incredibly powerful. Another one of my favorite productions was Annie. It was my first big theatre production. I loved the character of Annie, the show, and the cast and production crew. I remember riding home from opening night and saying, “That was the best night of my life.”
What was the best advice you received about acting?
I’ve been lucky to have had many wonderful mentors and directors throughout my life, and I have received tons of great advice from all of them. But one thing in particular that comes to mind is to treat every time you go onstage as if it’s the first time you’re doing it. Letting the story unfold can extremely help you as an actor to fully immerse yourself into the character and experience the events that go on in his/her life. This also helps the audience; given that it’s the first time they’re seeing the show, to have the best experience they possibly can.
Speaking of advice, what advice could you give to a fellow actor?
I would say the best advice I could give is to trust yourself. Trust your instincts, your impulses, and your choices.
What show do you really want to do?
I would really love to be in Rent someday. The show is fun with great music, yet extremely moving in its heavy themes.
Do you get nervous at all before or during your time on stage? If so, any tips on getting through the nervousness?
Usually I am fine getting ready for the show and warming up, but then when I’m at “places” and about to walk onstage, I do feel the nerves and the butterflies in my stomach. But as soon as I step onstage, I’m not the nervous actor who knows everyone is watching them. Instead, I am the character. And from that point on, the show is going and I get what you could call, “in the zone.” What I would suggest that helps to get through the nervousness is to remember that everyone who is out there wants you to do well. They are there to see you succeed. So don’t dwell over a missed line or a late cue or a misstep in a dance number, because that isn’t what the audience will remember. They’ll remember the wonderful experience of the show itself.
What shows are you doing this year?
So far, this upcoming Fall I will be in Pirates of Penzance as the Sergeant of Police. And in the Spring I hope to be in the Freshman/Sophomore production of You Can’t Take It With You. Both of these productions will be put on at the Park School of Baltimore.
Do you have plans to continue acting and singing after high school?
I definitely want to continue singing and acting for the rest of my life, but I’m not yet sure if I will plan to do it for a living. I love other subjects and topics in school as well, so I don’t know what I plan to focus on in college. But to directly answer the question, yes, I hope to always continue acting and singing.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I would like to give tremendous thanks to three special people in my life. First, thank you to my music teacher since Kindergarten, “Mr. B.,” who has had a huge impact on my passion for music. And most importantly, thank you to my two wonderful parents, Joan and Bradley, who have guided me through life, helped shape me into who I am today, supported me in all my choices, and been there for me every step of the way.