How to achieve redemption as a Scot through the medium of Braveheart

2014 | photos | trailer

"Biting satire and lightness of touch... Clerke is a magnetic stage presence" ★★★★ - A Younger Theatre | "A fearless young performer" - The List | "This unapologetic lovechild of pop culture and Scottish pride has me sold" ★★★★ - Broadway Baby | ★★★★ - To Do List |
"Thought provoking, funny and nuanced" - Ideastap | ★★★★ - TV Bomb

Rachael feels uneasy about Scotland. She feels uneasy about Alex Salmond and Donald Drumpf. About golf, tartan and the forthcoming independence referendum. She feels particularly uneasy about the fact that she once performed the Braveheart freedom speech to Rangers fans outside Ibrox.

Exploring identity, belonging and machismo, How to... Braveheart delves into the personal-political debate of a country on the edge of a decision. Expect rousing speeches, bicycles dressed as horses, a woman dressed as Mel Gibson and your very own Scottish enlightenment.

How to achieve redemption as a Scot through the medium of Braveheart
was a recipient of the 2014 Ideastap Underbelly Award and was performed 24 days in a row at the Edinburgh Fringe in August 2014. The show grew out of a three year research project into Scottish national identity Oh my God - I'm Scottish too!! and is roughly based on a presentation I made in my final year of college.

Created by Rachael Clerke | Produced by Abby Butcher | Dramaturgy by Ria Jade Hartley | Mentored by Rob Watt

Clerke and Joy


Clerke and Joy is an ongoing collaboration between Rachael Clerke and Josephine Joy.
They met in 2009 whilst studying at Dartington College of Arts.

Together they have created a piece of theatre about an ash cloud (Volcano, 2013) and another one about a dead old woman (Isabella, 2010), a synchronised swimming cabaret act (The Gogglettes, 2010-13), a performance lecture about post-graduation survival (Clerke and Joy’s tips for the Real World, 2013) and an online fan club replete with girls-on-youtube videos (The Rafiki Band Fan Club, 2012). They have just returned from a three month residency in Mumbai, India where they collaborated with young Indian performers, musicians and producers to create Falls 2-11 - a show about gravity and the fall of a government, which premiered at Thespo 16 festival at Prithvi Theatre on the 21st December 2014.

Their work is funny and deadly serious. Everyday and over the top. Smart but not highbrow.

They are committed to creating work that resonates for both their grandmothers and their peers.

I've decided not to write about all the Clerke and Joy things here. For that, you can go to the Clerke and Joy website.

Oh my god, I'm Scottish too!!  

Autumn 2011 (research)

Oh My God - I'm Scottish too!! was an independent performance research project conducted in the autumn of 2011 which aimed to examine and critique the nature of Scottish identity politics on both a personal and national level. This investigation resulted in the creation of The Big Men of Scotland – three alter-egos: Alex Salmond, Donald Trump and William Wallace as portrayed by Mel Gibson in Braveheart. There was a publication, Oh My God - I'm Scottish too!!, which can be viewed upon request.

This project was the catalyst for How to achieve redemption as a Scot through the medium of Braveheart, the first version of which was shown at the first Glasgow Buzzcut festival in March 2012.

To view the blog archive for this project, please click here.

Limited Capability for Living  

April 2012

A detournement project around the Department for Work and Pensions' changes to welfare services for sick and disabled people in the UK. The introduction of Employment and Support Allowance in 2008 meant that previous claimants of Incapacity Benefit now had their needs determined by privately outsourced questionnaires administered by ATOS Healthcare.


The fictional Department for Trust’s ‘Limited Capability for Living’ questionnaire aims to dissect and ridicule the ATOS ‘Limited Capability for Work’ questionnaire by replacing questions about the applicants health with those regarding their love life, something we understand as equally unquantifiable by tick-boxes.


The original and edited questionnaires and guidance notes can be viewed on the Limited Capability for Living website.


2010 (pamphlet)

A site specific re-pamphleting. An intervention. A reply to propaganda. A final gesture. A bit of fun.

Space:Void was a response to Dartington Hall Trust’s publication Space, designed to advertise the availability of studio space for artists on the Dartington Hall estate (previously Dartington College of Arts). It challenged the Trust’s desire to re-brand spaces which had been built for a specific purpose (educational) for commercial gain.

Space:Void was distributed amongst students, staff and members of the public during the final Dartington festival and closure of Dartington College of Arts, 16th – 20th June 2010. It was also placed into official Dartington Hall Trust leaflet stands, replacing and mixing with the trust’s original publication, Space.

To download the original and edited versions of the pamphlet in pdf format click here for Space and here for Void.

photo: Phil McNeil (How to… Braveheart)


current | photos | trailer

A drag king punk gig about architecture and idealism!

A dysto-utopian noise about The Man!
A no-wave musical about how we ended up in this mess!

Hosted by washed up architect/proto-god figure Archibald Tactful and accompanied by anti-virtuoso punk band The Great White Males - Cuncrete is a gratuitously sleazy and joyfully noisy critique of alpha-masculinity and the built environment. Expect original music, grotesque posturing, sharp suits and cement.

“An exhilaratingly bleak swansong for the grey, hard dreams of powerful men." ★★★★ - The Stage
“Politically vital... somewhere between a howl of rage and a rallying cry." Exeunt
“Eric Pickles meets Pussy Riot.” - audience member
“A fearless young performer” - The List on Rachael Clerke

The project is supported by Arts Council England, Bristol Old Vic Ferment, Camden People's Theatre, Arnolfini, The ShowRoom Chichester, Trinity Centre Bristol & The Exeter Bike Shed.

Created by Rachael Clerke | The Great White Males: Rachael Clerke, Eleanor Fogg, Anna Smith, Josephine Joy | Dramaturgy by Emma Frankland | Costumes by Sabrina Shirazi | Lighting design by Ben Jacobs | Research filmmaker Paul Samuel White | Produced by Simon James Holton | Researchers: Jennifer Angus, Rachel Simmonds, Elin Jones

Punk Band Project


It took Rachael Clerke 25 years of really wanting to be in a punk band before it occurred to her - in an inspired of moment of staggering simplicity - that she could just start one. So she did. She formed The Great White Males - a drag king punk band that now feature in her new work Cuncrete - and made herself the lead singer. She decided not to worry about being good, or looking good, or being talented, or having experience. Consequently she realised that life’s a lot more fun if you stop worrying about these things so much.

Punk Band Project is an opportunity for teenage girls to do just this. It’s a space to do something real, very fast. To embrace noise, chaos, angst and joy. It will most likely take the form of a day long punk-band-forming, song-writing, screaming-into-a-microphone workshop facilitated by Rachael and a musician, and will conclude in some kind of public performance - perhaps as a support band at a local gig.

There will be time for stumbling, falling over and shyness, but there will be more time for dressing up, shouting and hitting things.

I am currently at the very beginning of thinking about Punk Band Project, working with project manager Michael Tew. Over the coming months we will be doing various test workshops (including at the ICIA Bath on 19th November), public consultations and forming an advisory group made up of 13-17 year old girls in Bristol. If you’re interested in being part of this conversation in any capacity we’d love to hear from you.

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