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Clare Summerskill is a stand-up, a writer, an actress, a singer-songwriter, an oral historian and an academic.

Clare is a comedienne, a singer, and a writer and playwright, who creates verbatim theatre productions from interviews with people from marginalised communities. She is also a freelance academic and attained her doctorate at Royal Holloway University of London. She is the co-founder of the Oral History Society LGBTQ Special Interest Group.

Clare has been described by Radio 4 Women’s Hour as “A Lesbian Victoria Wood!” and by What’s On Magazine as “One of the funniest women in the country”.

Clare performs an original cocktail of stand-up and comedy songs to mainly LGBTQ audiences up and down the country and also abroad and has even been known to make straight people chuckle just a little bit! She brings Dyke humour to the forefront of alternative comedy! For several years she has appeared on the LGBTQ comedy and cabaret circuit. She was once one half of the lesbian-themed double act ALICE AND CLARE (with Alice Arnold) and she has performed her one-woman shows at The Edinburgh Festival over many years.

Clare also performs her stand-up and comedy songs as the entertainment for various AGMS and Conferences. These have included SPECTRUM (Home Office LGBT Staff), The DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, (LGBT Staff Group), OLDER LESBIAN NETWORK, CSI, ENFIELD HATE CRIME FORUM, KENRIC.

As a writer for radio, Clare contributed to the last two series of Weekending on BBC RADIO 4. She also wrote for the BBC RADIO 2 women’s comedy sketch show Heated Rollers and she both wrote for and appeared in the first-ever pilot for a Lesbian and Gay sketch show on Radio 4, So What If I Am?

Awards include: Commendation award for excellent contributions in promoting the wellbeing of older LGBT people from the Royal Society for Public Health Arts and Health 2014.

Finalist nominee for LFest Arts Event 2017 for her stage show ‘From Fairly Vocal to Varifocal‘.


Extract from Clare’s song ‘It Was Easy’ (performed at Milton Keynes, June 2023)

Brief update…. 


At the Rainbow’s End by Clare Summerskill

A brand new script-in-hand performance based on the lived experiences of older LGBTQ+ people in adult social care, followed by a Q&A session between the audience, the writer, the cast and invited panellists. (See EVENTS PAGE for further details)

Homophobia – Transphobia – Prejudice – Abuse

At The Courtyard Theatre 
40 Pitfield Street 
N1 6EU 

Fri 14th June 3pm and 7pm

Sun 16th June 3pm and 7pm

Sun 30th June 3pm and 7pm



Book Clare

  • For a comedy performance (songs and stand-up)
  • To perform a full-length theatre show of comedy and songs
  • For a presentational talk – where she speaks about her work based on interviews with older LGBTQ folk, or lesbian and gay asylum seekers or those who suffer from mental health issues (in which she addresses the issues involved and performs excerpts from the narrators).
  • As a compere for your conference
  • As a consultant on ethical concerns in verbatim theatre work

Contact for availability and fees.

Clare Summerskill – Speaker, Conference Compere, and Workshop Leader

Clare travels the country giving PRESENTATIONAL TALKS at conferences, corporate events, and universities – perfect for LGBT History Month bookings.


  • ‘LGBT History – In Our Own Words’ This is a brand new presentational talk by Clare prepared for LGBT History Month, 2023.
  • ‘Gateway to Heaven’ a talk, with acted extracts, about Clare’s book Gateway to Heaven: Fifty Years of Lesbian and Gay Oral History.
  • ‘Staying Out Late’, a presentational talk about older LGBT people’s concerns about being in care in later life.
  • ‘Hearing Voices’a talk about Clare’s play, set in a secure psychiatric ward.
  • ‘Rights of Passage’, a talk about the making of Clare’s latest verbatim play based on interviews with LGBT asylum seekers.
  • ‘A Warm and Comical Glimpse into LGBT History’, an irreverent look at LGBT history, with songs!
  • Comedy Writing Workshops – Covers stand-up, monologues, radio-writing and more!
  • ‘Writing the Self’ Workshops’ LGBTQ autobiographical writing workshops.
  • LGBTQ-Specific Oral History Workshops – addressing the ways in which LGBTQ oral history methodology differs from other oral history work

More information about Clare’s talks

Clare Summerskill – Stand-Up

As a Lesbian Comedienne, Clare performs an original cocktail of stand-up and comedy songs to mainly LGBT audiences and has even been known to make straight people chuckle a little!


  • “One of the funniest women in the country” What’s On
  • “Uninhibited and Unorthodox” The Independent
  • “A Lesbian Victoria Wood” Radio 4, Woman’s Hour
  • “Engaging and Charming” Time Out
  • “One of the most rip-roaring talents on the lesbian stage today” Rainbow Network
  • “The discerning Dyke’s comedienne” Gingerbeer Website

Follow Clare Summerskill on Facebook & Twitter: #CAESummerskill and download her CD tracks from this site!

Clare Summerskill – Patron

Clare Summerskill is a Patron of several organisations, all of which perform outstanding work in supporting and celebrating the LGBTQ community. They are:

Clare Summerskill – Writer

Clare’s latest publication is Creating Verbatim Theatre from Oral Histories (2021), published by Routledge (


  • Gateway to Heaven – Fifty Years of Lesbian and Gay Oral History. Tollington Press, 2012.


  • Hearing Voices. Tollington Press, 2010. Based on interviews with patients who met on a secure psychiatric ward.
  • Rights of Passage. Tollington Press, 2016. Based on interviews with lesbian and gay asylum seekers in the UK.
  • Gateway to Heaven – The Play. Tollington Press, 2019. Based on interviews with older lesbians and gay men.


  • We’re The Girls. Diana Publishing, 2008. A collection of Clare’s comedy monologues, short stories, and favourite song lyrics. This book is beautifully illustrated by the renowned lesbian cartoonist Kate Charlesworth. Described by Sarah Waters as: ‘Smart, witty, and with an eye for the sometimes poignant detail of everyday life’.

Her publications can be ordered online.  For details of Clare’s theatre playwriting click here.

Clare Summerskill – Singer/Songwriter

Clare has released four CDs of original songs, which all include a marvelous mixture of comedic songs and ballads.

  • Make It Sound Easy
  • Feels Like Coming Home
  • Still Let Me Fly
  • Love to be Found 

All are available to buy and to download. Order these releases on our online store.

Clare Summerskill – Artistic Director, Artemis Theatre Company

Clare is the Artistic Director of her own professional theatre company, ARTEMIS THEATRE COMPANY. The company performs plays to audiences who are often excluded by mainstream commercial theatre. Previous productions include two sell-out national tours of Gateway to Heaven – the Play, by Clare Summerskill, a piece based entirely on the memories of older lesbians and gay men. This play was commissioned by Age Concern to be made into a film. Visit for further details about this production.

In 2016 Clare toured to theatres nationally with the play Rights of Passage, based on interviews with LGBT asylum seekers in the UK.

In 2010 Clare toured with a play that she wrote called Hearing Voices, based entirely on testimonies from mental health service users. This play was funded by Arts Council England. Visit for further information about the play, the tour, the company, the contributors, the DVD and talks Clare gives about the show and its subject matter.

More details about ARTEMIS Theatre Company