Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Coffee Talk with Claire Hesselgrave

Meet Claire Hesselgrave who plays the role of "Diwata" in Speech & Debate! She moved here from Washington five years ago where she received her BFA in Acting from UBC and began her journey in Vancouver's theatre community! We are excited to have her with us as her Twenty Something debut!

(Claire [right] with Eric Freilich in Wild Honey at UBC)

What is your I wanna be an actor story... 

I remember performing plays and operas for my mom at a very young age. I was a pretty shy kid in public, but in the safety of my own home, I would let 'er rip. I danced my whole life and our annual show in June was something I always looked forward to. Ballet storytelling is, without a doubt, where it all started. However, it wasn't until high school drama class that I started performing with words. That was awesome. And I haven't stopped talking since.

What is your favourite role to date and why? 

We did Chicago in in my senior year of high school. I played Velma Kelly the only way I knew how: loud and proud. Sure, I played an attitude most of the time, was a terrible listener and had no idea what breath support meant, but I had so much fun. A first and a favourite, for sure.

(Claire and her friend Leeann)

What are you most excited about in playing the role of "Diwata" in Speech & Debate

I'm looking forward to playing a 17-year-old girl who says and does what I wish I could have when I was in high school. She's a bold one. Fierce, for sure.

If you were given any opportunity in the world to do that is un-related to theatre, what would that be? 

International dogwalker? Based out of Kauai, perhaps.

(Claire at her wedding with her dog, Buster [Photo Credit: Kirk Mastin])

Why do you think Speech & Debate is an important story to tell? 

Teenagers are incredible. They're stubborn, they're fragile, they're invincible, they dream big, and they don't take things lightly. Karam has written three real teenagers without any sitcom, patronizing bullshit. Speech & Debate is important because it is genuine. It's full of truth, humour, and heart. How lucky are we?

(Claire on holiday)

I completely agree! Make sure you don't miss Claire belting out some tunes in Speech & Debate from October. 2-12 at Studio 1398! This dark comedy will be unlike any thing else gracing a Vancouver stage this year! Tickets are available now through

-Jess Van Elk
Producing Assistant

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