Thursday, February 22, 2018

Former Camosun student Claire Bezuidenhout becomes Victoria’s living statue

October 1, 2014 by Tiffany Storry, contributing writer

Among all of the artists, musicians and street performers in downtown Victoria, one who stands out is actually a former Camosun student. Yes, the Copper Cowgirl, who sheriffs crime by standing absolutely still in the Inner Harbour, is actually Claire Bezuidenhout, a recent Camosun grad from the Community Support and Education Assistant program.

“I loved it; I love Camosun,” says Bezuidenhout, who graduated with an Associate of Arts degree in 2007 and a certificate in Community Support and Education Assistant in 2014. “I think it’s friendly, and it’s a great way to start your education journey.”

Claire Bezuidenhout, Victoria’s Copper Cowgirl, hard at work (photo provided).

Bezuidenhout started the downtown statue act in 2007 and she says it’s a great way to perform, make a living, and travel. Having done two years at a theatre school in France, performing is something that she enjoys and finds rewarding, and street performing became an offshoot of her studies.

“I really just love having interactions with people on the street and making a normal day fun and extraordinary,” she says. “You get to see a playful side of people.”

Allowing people to lighten up and enjoy the act is clearly a plus to standing still all day. Bezuidenhout often attempts to get people to join in on her western theme, with some positive results.

“One day a guy just totally got into it with me,” she recalls. “He looked like a normal business guy with a suit and tie and then he just saw me and I proposed a quick draw with him. He got into character and we did a little shootout and he got other people involved, and then he straightened his tie and kept on walking.”

And while there are some great interactions during her performance, there are also times when being a living statue can shock people.

“I do look like a real statue, and then I’ll suddenly move and they’ll get scared and drop their coffee,” she says.

Bezuidenhout has attended an impressive amount of worldwide busker festivals, for which she has travelled to countries on the opposite side of the world, such as New Zealand and Australia. She has also performed in France, Spain, and the United Kingdom, and hopes to bring her act to the United States soon.

“I love performing very much,” she says. “It’s a great combo of making people laugh, travelling, and expressing myself artistically.”

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