Play School’s Justine Clarke heads for QMF
Hailed as Play School’s darling, Justine Clarke has been a household name for the better part of two decades.
Having appeared in some of the nation’s biggest productions including Look Both Ways, Blue Dog, Maya The Bee, The Time of Our Lives, Home and Away, Hedda Gabler and Muriel’s Wedding the Musical, Justine has stamped her legacy on just about every corner of the entertainment industry.
But despite launching from the humble Play School pen to the big stage, the celebrated children’s entertainer maintains an admirable level of modesty in light of her successes.
“I think there’s so much within this industry (television) that has to do with ‘I’m in the right place’, but I never take it for granted,” Justine, 47, said.
“I always try to remind myself that there’s so many people out there with so much talent that don’t get the same opportunities. I really try to relish in those moments.
“It’s (performing) always about connecting. It’s sort of a human desire to feel that connection and I suppose in a theatrical sense, it’s quite ritualistic. There’s so much joy involved in music, and I love celebrating that emotion.”
Justine, whose record The Justine Clarke Show! took out last year’s ARIA Award for Best Children’s Album, said part of its aim was to get kids engaged in music.
She said for it to be acknowledged and land her an award as prestigious as an ARIA was a special moment.
“That was a show that I worked very, very hard on. All the songs were really diverse in style and I was really proud of it,” she said.
“I had a lot of different writers that I wrote it with and producers. I really wanted it to be packed with variety, and I was really happy for it to be recognised.”
While most of her time is spent on set, in the studio or at her Sydney home with her three children aged 18, 16 and 10, Justine visited Geelong’s National Wool Museum in July for the travelling Play School exhibition.
“A Morning with Justine Clarke” was a sold-out day event featuring three live performances.
Justine said she “never gets to spend enough time in Geelong”.
“It was wonderful. A fabulous museum and great staff. It’s a really engaging program for kids and in such a beautiful building,” she said.
Although many of Justine’s fans didn’t get to see her in action at her Geelong gig, she is set to return this November for the 2019 Queenscliff Music Festival.
Justine, along with many other big-name children’s entertainers, will venture down the Bellarine Peninsula to deliver a lively and interactive kid-friendly performance.
“I absolutely love that side of town and would love to have more time to explore it. This festival has incredible word of mouth from people who just love its family atmosphere,” said Justine.
“It’s great that the festival recognises that families need to be catered to and that they’re (children) just as interested in music as any other age group or crowd.”
Justine is currently finalising a book named after one of her songs from The Justine Clarke Show, ‘A Banana is a Banana’. The 24-page fictional narrative, which was written with Josh Pyke and illustrated by Heath McKenzie, will be released later this year.
Justine is also compiling a “best of” album which will feature 25 songs selected from her five albums.
“It’s a bit momentous, rounding up a very important and significant period in my life. Putting together the best of record has been a bit of a trip down memory lane.”
Justine Clarke will perform at this year’s QMF, which is locked in for November 22-24. For more information, visit qmf.net.au.