A Quick Chat With Emma Clair Ford

emma clair ford headshot
Emma Clair Ford

When she is not working as the Festival Director for Short+Sweet Melbourne, Emma Clair Ford is most often performing in cabaret. 

After presenting smash hit seasons of her first solo show in 2010 and 2011, Emma will preview her latest solo creation, Butterscotch, at The Butterfly Club on February 21 and 22 before her debut season for CABfringe as part of Adelaide Fringe Festival.

We ask Emma our 20 questions….

1. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Growing up was never something I really considered… maybe Robin Williams.

Or an archaeologist.

2. Who is the most important person in the world to you?
My Mum, Judy.

3. What animal best represents you and why?
A meerkat. I’m small and inquisitive.

4. If you were a contestant on Deal or No Deal, how much would you need to be on offer before you walked away?
I’m an independent artist, so not much!

5. What was the first piece of theatre/film/TV you ever appeared in and how old were you?
I was in a production of Annie when I was about 8. I played one of the tom-boy orphans.

6. Windows or MAC?
Windows by default, but MAC would be my preference.

7. Favourite food?
Indian food. Yes please.

8. Who is the actor you would most like to work alongside?
Liza Minelli. Although I’d probably just stand there giggling.

9. What five songs would be the first you put a mix tape?

‘Must be Talking to an Angel’ – Eurhythmics

‘Startin’ Something’ –Michael Jackson

‘I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You’ – Colin Hay

‘The Times They are a Changing’ –Bob Dylan

‘Come in from the Cold’ –Joni Mitchell

10. What is the best thing about theatre in Australia?
I’m in it.

11. What’s the worst thing about theatre in Australia?
I’m not in it enough.

12. Name one moment when you looked around, breathed happily and felt content.
Lucky for me, I have plenty of those moments. I felt very blessed at Adelaide Fringe last year. I’m excited to get back there.

13. Where is the most interesting place you have travelled?
I backpacked through Europe for quite some time, and did the cruise ship thing for a while, so I’ve had the chance to see lots of amazing and quirky places.

I loved Lake Bled in Slovenia.

14. Who is the most famous person you’ve ever met?
When I first graduated from drama school, I got a cameo role in a film with Susan Sarandon, Emily Blunt and Sam Neill. I was pretty thrilled.

15. Most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you onstage?
It was quite recently, actually. I had the honour of performing at a tribute concert for the wonderful Malcolm Robertson. Before I’d even started singing, I dropped my hand held microphone. It went flying. Luckily the sound tech was on the ball, and switched it off before it crashed to the ground. I was wearing high heels and a short-ish dress. I had to bend down to pick it up while the music vamped. There were lots of industry veterans in the audience. They were very kind and forgiving.

Also, while hosting the final of Short+Sweet Cabaret last year, I told the artists and audience we should all go ‘celibate’. I meant to say ‘celebrate’…

16. What’s your life motto?
Fall down seven times, get up eight.

17. What’s your favourite post-show snack?
Anything I can get my hands on! Pizza or pasta always go down a treat after an adrenalin driven performance!

18. What’s your biggest phobia?
I’m afraid of spiders, despite growing up in a big old house in the middle of a forest.

I also strongly dislike the word ‘aubergine’.

19. What is the worst date you’ve ever had?
It was in London, with a stoke broker. I told him I was a music theatre performer. He said, “I hate music theatre. Is it even a real thing? I mean, it’s not actually theatre, is it?”


20. Where do you see yourself in five years?
I really don’t know. But as long as I’m singing, creating, performing, surrounded by the people I love, I will be very happy.


Erin James

Erin James is AussieTheatre.com's former Editor in Chief and a performer on both stage and screen. Credits include My Fair Lady, South Pacific and The King and I (Opera Australia), Love Never Dies and Cats (Really Useful Group), Blood Brothers (Enda Markey Presents), A Place To Call Home (Foxtel/Channel 7) and the feature film The Little Death (written and directed by Josh Lawson).

Erin James

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