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Kelly Hunter

“If you have to make comparisons, measure yourself against who you were yesterday”
Kelly Hunter. Photo: Dragos Dumitru
Kelly Hunter. Photo: Dragos Dumitru

Where do you teach?
I run Flute Theatre, which tours the work of Shakespeare to international, interactive audiences of people who would not ordinarily access the performing arts such as children with autism and their families. I’m lucky to have been invited around the world to introduce the Hunter Heartbeat method.

How did you start off in theatre?
I played the Mistress in the original West End production of Evita when I was 17. I worked primarily in musicals for 10 years and then never did them again.

What instigated the move into teaching?
You never know if it’s you who is the monster in the room but, at the time, it was not being able to bear the vanities, lies and general narcissism that can characterise the life of an actor.

What is your best piece of advice for students and graduates?
I have no formal qualifications, but have led a creative life, kept my own opinions and have not been ruled by a consensus of ideas. Try to do the same – be yourself.

What would you change about the industry if you could?
You can only change yourself. Concentrate on this and the world around you may also change.

What is the best part of your job?
Witnessing autistic individuals find their voices. I don’t have a least favourite part.

Who are the practitioners you admire/who should students be look up to?
Cultivate practitioners as heroes if they can do something you can’t do and would love to. The company Baro d’evel blew my mind just thinking about what they do, let alone actually seeing them.

What is the one skill every successful theatre professional should have?
The singular skill of navigating long periods of unemployment without descending into mania and bitter unhappiness comes to mind.

What tip could readers put into practice to increase their well-being?
If you have to make comparisons, measure yourself against who you were yesterday, not against someone you don’t know. Pursue your art and craft with purpose, never expediency.

Kelly Hunter was talking to John Byrne. More information about Flute Theatre: flutetheatre.co.uk

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