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Originally from Canada, EmmaClaire Brightlyn is a freelance actress, fight director and instructor based in Glasgow, Scotland and Toronto, Canada. She is currently an Artistic Associate with Solar Stage Theatre in Toronto, and is a member of staff for the upcoming Paddy Crean International Stage Combat workshop. EmmaClaire has been fight director for multiple productions with the National Theatre of Scotland, Bard in the Botanics, the Royal Lyceum Theatre, the Citizens Theatre and many more across Scotland. She was a Fight Captain and featured Gladiator in the 2011 tour of Ben Hur Live in Italy and Germany. Most recently EmmaClaire has been Fight Arranger on Scottish feature films Anna and the Apocalypse (Blazing Griffin) and Beats (Sixteen Films). See more at

Interview by Rebeccah Love

What types of creative activities did you get involved with as a kid?

I was in ballet, jazz and tap as a very young'un, then a competitive Highland dancer till my teens. I played the piano, sang in choirs, and also played the tenor saxophone. I also was definitely a child who wrote poetry.

How did you get involved in creative projects as a teenager?

I knew early on that I wanted to be an actress, so through high school I was in drama. I auditioned for community theatre shows before then too. And choirs and bands with school.

What did you do after high school?

I went to UVic and did a BFA in acting.

What have been some of your favourite experiences as an actor?

Playing Helena in the Shakespeare Company production of MSND (Calgary) Performing on the Globe stage (London) Working on a new script with Playwright Studio Scotland wherein I got to do the dance and sing the song from 16 Going On 17 from the Sound of Music, as a drag queen. (Edinburgh) <--- this was amazing.

How did you fall into fight choreography?

I got into Stage Combat as a very physical performer who felt bigger than all the other girls, and this was an outlet which let me use all of me. Fight Choreography happened almost by accident; I was in the right place at the right time with the right skillset. And then my name was passed on, and it rolled from there.

How did you first find out about Anna and the Apocalypse?

I was brought in for the proof of concept trailer. This was after the project was given funding, but they needed to find a new writer/director and prove that the project was still worth the money from the large funding bodies.

What was your favourite aspect of your work on this film?

Working with the actors and making them feel like heroes. And my not so latent desire to be in a musical - so getting to be around musical numbers a lot.

What was the most challenging aspect of choreographing zombie fights?

Lack of time. Always.

Do you find Toronto to be an artist-friendly city?

There is an abundance of opportunity here, which is there for people with fire in their bellies. It is a very expensive city, and participation in just about everything costs.

What other forms of art do you enjoy consuming?

I love seeing dance. And live jazz. Another bonus to Toronto is the number of interactive art shows and installations that come to town.

What are you reading right now?

I have just finished reading a great book called Station Eleven, by Emily St. john Mandel

What are you looking forward to?

Heading home for Christmas with my family including my fantastic niece and nephew.

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