The pride of Whitehorse, Claire Ness has made her mark as arguably one of the most versatile performers the Yukon has ever produced.
She first discovered her passion for performing in such theatre productions as The Wizard of Oz, Hair, Cabaret, Guys and Dolls, and Laughter on the 23rd Floor, beginning when she was a teen. She then moved to Toronto to attend Humber College’s Comedy Writing and Performance program. After graduating, she worked as a clown, acrobat and stiltwalker with Zero Gravity Circus, and was also a regular performer and creator for the Lunacy Cabaret in Toronto.
She moved to Montreal for awhile, where she continued to perform while also the head coach for the after-school and summer circus camp programs. She produced and starred in the critically-acclaimed The Yukon Ho Down – A Showcase of Yukon Music in Montreal in 2011, among other projects. Over the years she’s performed at different arts festivals not only across the country, but has also at the Adelaide Fringe Festival in Australia more than once.
But still a country girl at heart, Ness found herself back in Whitehorse, where she set up her own production company to keep the theatre bug at bay. Settling into homelife and now married with a child, she still performed live now and again, and looking for a new project, she released her debut album, HOPELESS ROMANTIC in 2013. Filled with simple arrangements of raw, basic roots, it featured tracks like “Yukon Gold,” “Stampedes of Water,” and a tale of life in the big city, “Rushing To Red Lights.”
In September, ’14, she released her second album, JACKFISH GIRL LIVE!, which was actually recorded a year earlier during the release party for the first album. Following the same formula, the new record was a collection of stripped down acoustic tales of a by-gone era with a twist of light heartedness, including the title track, “Pennies From Heaven,” and “Unite On the Moon” and “Yukon Gold” from the first album.
She took her musical show on the road in ’15, when she signed on with the “Home Routes” tour – a bunch of B&Bs and small clubs banded together to bring independent artists across North America. During this time she also taught a circus camp on the island of Antigua, and has performed regularly at various arts festivals from Yellowknife to Kansas City. Ness also stays busy running her baby, the Yukon Summer Circus Camp.