Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: Tamsin Clarke on Manuelita

Manuela Saenz, lover of revolutionary Simon Bolivar, is 'part fact, part fiction and full of fancy'

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This article is from 2014.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: Tamsin Clarke on Manuelita

'As a South American, you somehow automatically know about Simon Bolivar,’ says Tamsin Clarke. 'He is a hero and an ingrained part of history. However, I had never heard about Manuela Saenz. She was supposedly his lover and companion for many years.'

Written and performed by Clarke and accompanied by award-winning guitarist Camila Menjura, Manuelita is a journey through the life of Manuela Saenz (1795–1856). 'She was a fighter – believing in a cause and working hard to see it through til the end,' Clarke adds. ‘She overcame the tedious rigors of society and made changes in opinion in a rigid world that was very male orientated.'

Clarke spent a month and a half in South America (including her mother’s native Venezuela) tracking down stories of Manuelita. From them, she has woven a musical performance to show off the good and the bad of a young woman who excited a revolutionary continent.

This promises to be less feminist reclamation and more honest retelling of the world of Bolivar through one of the unsung female heroes. In my opinion,' Clarke concludes, 'she is a true legend – part fact, part fiction and full of fancy!'

Underbelly, Cowgate, 0844 545 8252, 2–24 Aug (not 12), 12.40pm, £8–£12 (£7–£10). Previews 31 Jul & Aug 1, £6.

This article is from 2014.


  • 3 stars

Popelei Theatre The revolutionary who captured the spirit of a continent. A tour-de-force by Lecoq-trained Tamsin Clarke, featuring Colombian guitarist Camilo Menjura (2014 Latin UK Awards Musician Of The Year). Blending storytelling, comedy, physical theatre and live music, Manuelita promises Fringe-goers a…


  • Written by: Tamsin Clarke

Tamsin Clarke stars in a tribute to the South American revolutionary Manuela Saenz in a performance which combines physical theatre, storytelling and comedy.


1. Andrew Douglas18 Aug 2014, 11:07pm Report

Brilliant show - everything you want from the Fringe: a small venue buried under the Old Town, a compelling and previously unknown story and two talented young artists giving heartfelt performances. I left both feeling like I knew Manuelita from Tamsin's intimate performance, and wanting to know more. See this.

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