Over the years I’ve taken on many characters and impersonations. The bulk of my voiceover work uses my natural voice, so when these jobs come up I relish the challenge.
As an actor I gained a reputation as the go-to person for playing multiple roles in one show. In fact, I’ve rarely ever been in a show where I only play one character! It requires an active imagination, an ability to manipulate your body, a willingness to make a fool of yourself and, of course, a great ear for accents and vocal character.
And it’s not just inventing characters. I’ve had to impersonate real people too. It takes a lot of listening and playing around before you find all the elements that make up someones voice. Are they breathy, nasal or shrill? What pitch and speed do they talk at? Is there a defect or impediment? What shapes do they make with their mouths and faces to form the sounds? Detailed research and a lot of hard graft but I get there in the end.
What’s great is that all my theatre training and experience is now bleeding into my voiceover work. A recent client found me via Google precisely because they needed a skilled voiceover artist who could also do impersonations. They needed someone to impersonate some people from the TV game show The Chaser as well as coming up with characters playing the game. It was a lot of fun. Sadly, I’m not allowed to share the content so I’ll have to leave it to your imagination. But they did share the avatars with me.
My many acting roles
Here’s just a selection of some of the shows I’ve done where I’ve had to take on characters and do impersonations:
- Vanity Fair by William Thackeray. I played the wealthy,grouchy and flamboyant octogenarian Lady Steyne as well as an hilarious and loving Irish military wife. I also played a teenager, a middle aged mum and a sour and snobbish Governess.
- Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand. In this I played a man. Yup, you heard that right. At 5’2″ and the tender age of 25 I played the comic role of Ragueneau the pastry chef as well as a few extra characters here and there.
- Coronation Street on Stage by Jonathan Harvey. To celebrate 50 years of the iconic soap we toured and amazing show featuring some of the most famous characters and scenes. It was the hardest job and most epic vocal challenge of my life! I played 11 characters including Vera Duckworth, Elsie Tanner, Annie Walker and Hayley Walker. The hardest part was doing an accurate impersonation but one that would work on stage to audiences in their 1000s. A breathy TV voice would never carry. So I had to adapt the voice but still sound like the character. Not easy! And then you add the millions of costume and wig changes. I was a sweaty mess by the end of each show.
- You can see a short video of me playing Annie Walker on YouTube – watch from about 45 seconds in.
“Claire Wyatt is an instantly recognisable Elsie Tanner, her Vera Duckworth pairs well with Lailey’s Jack, but the audience’s hearts almost audibly go out to her Hayley and Sangster’s Roy Cropper.” Theatre Review
Some memorable Doctor Who Audio drama characters
- The Boy that Time Forgot – I played Madam Teegarna, a Scorpion-like alien military leader, as well as other minor characters.
- Exotron – in this I played a telepathic hyena called a Farakosh, a young Northern technician and a computer!
- Return to the Web Planet – I played Mother Earth herself in this spooky existential tale.
- The Silver Turk – this was fun to record as I had to play the posh Countess Mitzi Wittenmeier as well as her young Scottish maid in the same scene. I also played at least three more minor characters.
I also use my character skills for radio commercials too. And of course there’s Halloween and the Xmas season approaching!
Don’t forget to get in touch if you’d like to find out more.