Caroline Kay-Mouat is an Alderney based artists. Her focus is music and she is currently Director of the multi-disciplined Studio Alderney.
You are Director of Studio Alderney, can you tell us a little about this venture?
I started Studio Alderney this time last year. The motivation was to organise workshops for the local community in which I grew up and to encourage people from the other Channel Islands to come to Alderney. By participating in these workshops the hope was that people would brush up or discover a dormant skill, make new friends and enjoy the uniqueness of Alderney. So far the workshops have involved singing, dancing for adults and a youth workshop which involved the youth of the island in putting on a show entitled Rock and Roll Island which was directed by Tristan Carter and assisted by Bee Husband. There are great photos on the website…
From these workshops has come the idea of The Alderney Performing Arts Festival Charity which will be held on the last May bank holiday 24-26th May. Again the idea is to promote Alderney as a unique artistic venue where performers will come from both near and far, showing off the best talent from the Channel Islands and enabling audiences to enjoy a varied programme in a selection of unique venues throughout the island.
How and why did you get into this field of the arts?
I trained as a singer in Paris at the Paris Conservatoire having been encouraged by my mother to attempt the entrance exam: I was accepted. After the Conservatoire I moved to London and worked both as a performer and also continued my studies. Work was predominantly concert based. My mother being French meant that I grew up bi-lingual and I was always very keen to learn other languages which meant the recital platform enabled me to research a wide repertoire and to enjoy the literature of many influential poets in a musical setting. I equally continued further post-graduate studies and also translated CDs of French Composers and taught at The Welsh College of Music. In between I worked for the Alliance Francaise in India and also did some Opera roles such as the Mozart’s Queen of the Night, from the Magic Flute and Donna Anna, from Don Giovanni and Titania from Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream to name just three.�
How I stayed in this field is that once a vocal technique is acquired you find an artistic freedom which is totally liberating. Once you have experienced the contact between an audience and the performer you endeavour to repeat it in different forms and colours and ultimately to share the experience. Throughout I have taught singing and so the workshops provide an opportunity to bring over colleagues to collaborate with locally based teachers and to enable participants to access top rate teachers.
What aspect of your work is the most challenging, the most enjoyable?
The most challenging aspect can be the weather! Fog is fog. Luckily there are a number of boat services that can come to the rescue.�
The most enjoyable aspect is the visible change in a person who has willingly put themselves outside of their comfort zone and surpassed their own expectations and that of their family and friends.
Being island-based, in what ways has the unique environment influenced your creative practice?
Alderney is very special: indeed Unique. You step off the plane and you are immediately absorbed by the atmosphere, the sense of being on a small island far from the rush of town/city life. Alderney has wonderful scenery which changes swiftly with the weather and the light. What I particularly love about Alderney is the sea: one minute it is flat calm the next boiling. There are continual reminders of mortality and our crucial role within a larger picture. The importance of such unique places enables us to find “time out”. To enable us to re-connect with what is important: nature and what makes us tick: I believe even on a subconscious level the influence of Alderney is considerable and memorable. It provides a creative setting to consider what is important in life.