On the Couch with Claire Lyon

The-Masque-Co-Claire-LyonWho is Claire Lyon?
I’m originally from Melbourne and have been performing professionally in Musical Theatre and Opera since 2007! My career started out with Opera Australia and I’ve been lucky enough to go from one show to the next, touring throughout Australia and internationally ever since. I’m currently playing the role of Christine Daae in the World Tour of The Phantom of the Opera in Seoul, South Korea.

I started The Masque Co. after making mask wearing part of my everyday routine on tour. After seeing the positive affects here in Korea, within and outside the theatre, I wanted to normalise mask wearing and make it more accessible to the western market. After trying so many ill-fitting, uncomfortable, poorly designed and eco-UNfriendly masks here – I wanted to create a product that was the opposite to all these things.

Above all, I wanted them to be safe – so I’m pleased the testing of my masks, done by the Korean Apparel Testing and Research Institute, have come out with some wonderful results. I found a factory and started manufacturing right here in Seoul and am now distributing globally!

What would you do differently from what you do now?
I’m currently already dipping my toe into something new… actually more like diving straight in! My new company has been crazy busy since we launched, so I’m sure that will keep me occupied for a while… I’m also obsessed with real estate and renovating property – that’s my other passion!

Who inspires you and why?
My fiancé Dave! I don’t know how he manages to do so much and always keep so relaxed and happy and generous with his time.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Currently I want to raise as much money as I can for those in our industry who are struggling. The performing arts is a tough industry at the best of times, with regards to mental health, and now with everyone’s livelihoods even more destabilised, it’s even more crucial to raise awareness and offer support.

I’ve been one of the very few lucky ones, throughout this incredibly difficult year, who has maintained employment, so I want to give back, and by teaming up with The Arts Wellbeing Collective and donating $1 per mask sold, I hope to make a small difference.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Within Australia – My fiancé and I love going to his family house in Merimbula. It’s where we got engaged and it’s so peaceful and untouched. The Sapphire Coast has some of the most gorgeous remote beaches. Overseas – Italy! The food… culture… everything. I just love Italy.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I love taking friends from overseas to the footy, particularly the MCG, as it’s something you can’t experience outside of Australia. And also going to a show in the city and having a meal along Flinders Lane beforehand.

At the theatre here in Korea, everyone has to wear masks, have their temperatures taken and fill in forms with their personal details for tracing and tracking purposes. I’m sure we will be seeing these sorts of procedures from now on back at home too, in both sport and live performance.

What are you currently reading?
I’m currently listening to the audiobook The Body by Bill Bryson – which I find fascinating and a little scary at the same time… it was only published in October last year and he goes into mentioning the Spanish Flu and how it has just been pot luck that we haven’t experienced a pandemic like it since… until now!!

What are you currently listening to?
I’ve gotten into the habit of listening to Ben Platt on repeat while warming up for the show. His voice is so incredibly effortless and his range seemingly endless. He sings with such heart.

Happiness is?
The thought of coming home in October and being with my fiancé again. Going for walks (in our masks of course!) and having one of his home cooked meals. I’m a pathetic cook – so have really missed that since being away.

What does the future hold for you?
Coming home to Australia. Getting a dog. Selling masks and raising money for our industry!

Claire is currently starring as Christine Daae in the World Tour of The Phantom of the Opera in Seoul, South Korea. Claire is also the face behind the mask, and has launched The Masque Co.

Image: Claire Lyon – courtesy of The Masque Co.