About Claire Schrader

Claire Schrader picWallflower

I started out in life as the proverbial wallflower. I was shy, quiet, incredibly self-conscious and lacking in confidence.

That is until I found a way to break out of my shell and acquire some of the skills that the most successful people naturally have.

As a result, I have achieved things that would simply be impossible if I hadn’t come out of my hidey-hole. See below for more about my story, including photos and videos of how I did it.

“You’re never an introvert”

When people meet me these days, they find it hard to believe I was once a shy introvert. In fact, the first thing they say to me is “You’re never an introvert” – because I appear to be more outgoing than most, very comfortable on stage and in front of an audience, and somewhat of a free spirit.

And then they wonder how on earth I managed to effect such a thorough transformation. Since being an introvert is something that you’re supposed to be stuck with. There’s no cure for being an introvert!

Best of both worlds

Well, I am still an introvert, and very happy that I am.  I wouldn’t want to stop being one, because there are many wonderful things about being introverted.

I now feel I have the best of both worlds – the ability to go within and think and experience things deeply, and the ability also to be outgoing, expressive and social.

The Sunflower Effect

I am on a mission to improve the lives of quiet, shy and introverted people. I don’t want anyone to go through what I did. I started up Making Moves in 1997 and over that time have developed a fast and effective system, The Sunflower Effect.

Over the years, my courses have enabled many hundreds of people to free themselves of these disadvantages and develop a natural self-confidence. It has transformed their lives.

Some people achieve this in an incredibly short amount of time; for others, it can take a little longer. It has been my greatest pleasure to support them through their journey and watch them change their lives.

Here’s more about my story and how I got to where I am

Be aware that’s it’s a long read.

Shy child

I was a quiet, shy, introverted child. We lived in flats where childhood noise was not liked, and my mother says that she deliberately repressed both my sister and me from a very young age. We were so good and so well behaved that teachers used to comment on it. There was something unsettling about having such good, well-behaved children.

The photo was taken when I was 13 but looked more like a nine-year-old – I felt as awkward as I ever had.

Scan 15
Claire at 13

I had to do something about my shyness

Shyness followed me into my early twenties.

My first career was in nursing because as a shy introvert, I didn’t think I was capable of doing anything else. But I was a square peg in a round hole, and I was miserable. I staggered from one depression to another and was making myself ill.

I got to the point where I knew I had to do something about my shyness.

Claire (middle back) during her nursing training at Kings College Hospital

How I did it?

It didn’t happen overnight…. it happened over a period of time. And it didn’t happen because I had any special gifts or abilities. In fact, I was for most of the time, stumbling blindly in the dark.

Through a series of coincidences, I became involved in drama at university, where I discovered that drama naturally built confidence. In a relatively short amount of time, my shyness became a thing of the past. (See my full story in my book From Wallflower to Sunflower.)

See also this video:

I speak more about my journey from Shyness in this Facebook live: Say goodbye to living your life on the sidelines.  It’s about 30 minutes long.

Undoing negative programming

Drama enabled me to come out of my introverted hidey-hole and undo the negative programming that had kept me locked away in my shell.

And for the most part it was relatively easy and highly enjoyable. 

A career in theatre

However, after building my confidence through drama, much to my surprise, I found myself pursuing a career in the theatre – something I would never have dreamed of doing.

In my theatre career, every acting role enabled me to explore and develop new aspects of myself, and that was empowering. It enabled me too to free up parts of myself that I had suppressed for years. And it was fun.

Saying goodbye to social anxiety

In the course of this, I came across the improvisation techniques of Keith Johnstone and Viola Spolin. On top of the discovery that improvisation was nothing like I thought it was, improvisation released creativity in me that I never knew I had. Along with this, my social anxiety disappeared. My whole life, my confidence in myself, and what I believed I could achieve, began to open up.

(This is why I also run the  “I don’t know what to say” improvisation course because this is the most effective way of building social confidence and developing many other aspects of self-expression.)

And I discovered much to my amazement that there were so many gifts locked away inside me – gifts I never knew I had.

Because as an introvert, these gifts were all held within me. And there they would have stayed if I hadn’t have found a way of getting them out of me.

The power of achievement

It is powerful to achieve things. It builds self-respect and confidence. Because the fact is, we live in an extroverted world and that isn’t easy for most introverts.

I have achieved all kinds of things as an introvert which I would never have thought possible if I hadn’t discovered drama.

La Dame de Flamme

One of these was creating my solo fire-eating act “La Dame de Flamme, the fire-eating ballerina” which I performed on the alternative comedy circuit. I was featured in women’s magazines and on the radio. I also performed at a Royal Function attended by H.M. the Queen.

La Dame She 2
La Dame de Flammes – Claire’s fire-eating act (featured in SHE and Woman’s World magazines)

Becoming a playwright

Sometime after this, I started writing my first play. Suddenly I could write with ease, even though for years I had been blocked. The play seemed to be writing itself.

Much later, I realised that all the improvisation work, had freed me from the self-imposed restrictions of a lifetime, and I could finally let my ideas flow.


Later on, this play, CORYVRECKAN, was produced at the Old Red Lion Theatre in London, an extraordinary experience for me. Not only did I see my play enacted by a talented and committed cast, but I also had two agents who wanted to represent me. One was Margaret Ramsay, at that time, the most famous agent for stage writers.

The play went on to be nominated for three awards in the London Fringe Theatre 1991 Awards, and Julia Tarnoky won Best Actress (pictured with the award and publicity). She considers her role in CORRVRECKAN, as some of the best work of her career.

Julia Tarnoky with her award and publicity in the Stage newspaper

I won an Arts Council award for Corryvreckan and had other plays performed too.

Founding Making Moves

Years later, when I trained as a dramatherapist, I was able to bring all of these experiences together. The drama had liberated me to be true to myself, and the extensive personal development work I had done, had given me insight and understanding.

I founded Making Moves and over time, developed the Sunflower Effect. I soon realised I had hit on a highly effective system that was radically changing the lives of quieter people.

Raising my profile

I’ve given presentations at large-scale events including the Women’s International Networking Conference in Rome, and run programmes in business for advertising professionals, CEO’s, Organizational Development Consultants and Innovators etc.

In 2017 my book From Wallflower to Sunflower, the quiet person’s path to natural self-confidence was published, which explains how the Sunflower Effect works.

TV Appearances

I’ve appeared on The Chrissy B Show (SKY TV), BBC World Services and I was featured in Marie Claire magazine.

It is now my mission to make the Sunflower Effect more available so that more people can benefit.

How I work

My style is open and encouraging, allowing each individual to emerge from their shell at their own pace and in their own way. Laughter and humour is an important part of the process.

I share openly about my own life and experiences: as one who has been through many dark places in my life, I have come out the other side stronger and with a renewed zest for life.

I continue to pursue my growth bringing back what I have learned to the groups and individuals I work with.

See my Expert View on the Hotcourses Website

Claire seating in a circle

These are some of the things people have said about the way I work, which at one time I would have been too embarrassed to put on my website!

miriaShe is very intuitive and sensitive to the needs and dynamics of the work. And fun to work with. Open-minded, great inner strength, expertise and professionalism. She creates a very deep space for a wide range of emotions to be re-experienced and expressed in a safe way, allowing people the time and space to do that.”
M.R. Editor

You are a marvellously ego-less workshop leader. You empowered a bunch of potential starts to twinkle and shine – I ended up feeling like a 1000 watt light bulb.”
Scilla Elsworthy, Author and Director of Oxford CND

A wonderful transparency. No apparent difficulty in being with whatever is happening. Deep understanding of everyone’s process and full acknowledgement of where we were.”
J.W. Communications Coach

HPC_reg-logoHere’s some more detail about my training, qualifications and background.

I am registered with HCPC – the Health and Care Professionals Council, as well as a Member of BADth (the British Association of Dramatherapists)

Sign up for Three Chapters from my book

Subscribe to the Making Moves newsletter and receive 3  free chapters from my book: From Wallflower to Sunflower (£14.99)

In these chapters you’ll discover:

  • Why you’re not alone, and why more people are identifying themselves as wallflowers
  • The biggest mistake that wallflowers make when they’re trying to build confidence.
  • Discover the magic power to break old habits and create new patterns of confident behaviour you’ve had the whole time – but you didn’t know it.

You’ll also receive regular free resources, tips and support for your journey to greater confidence, as well as information about my highly effective confidence courses.

Subscribe now to receive your free chapters emailed straight to your inbox, and join a community of people like you, who are ready to change their lives.

Many of my clients read these Chapters first before booking onto any of my courses. 

Find out more

Useful Links:

Confidence Courses
Who is it for?
How to get started
How it works
How to break the pattern of struggle
Why the things you’ve tried haven’t worked.
Frequently asked questions

Inspiring stories
of the people whose lives have been transformed by my approach.

And if you have any questions that are not answered on this website, please don’t hesitate to send me an email

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New here?

Want to know what’s coming up soon?

Find out what it’s like to attend a Sunflower Effect  Course by joining the extra Free Zoom Introductory Evening on  January 13th 7.30-9.30pm

A great way to get a taste of what to expect before joining one of my courses.

My regular courses will return in January 2021 and will run on zoom.

If you’re feeling ready to take the plunge and book for one of my courses – here’s a bit of useful info as to where to get started:

The Breakthrough Group is the first step for many people – particularly if you feel shy, self-conscious or experience social anxiety. I’ve seen some miraculous transformations in my 20 years of running this course.

The next course will run on zoom and will start either:
Tues 19th Jan @ 7pm

Or, if speaking up in groups, being heard, or any kind of public speaking is your challenge, then the  Finding Your Voice course is a good place to start. Particularly if anxiety or nerves are an issue. I’ve had people with very severe symptoms including panic attacks, overcome these issues with relative ease.

The next course will run on zoom and will start:
Wed 20th Jan  @7pm

“I don’t know what to say” improvisation for social confidencei s great for people with average confidence who experience some form of social anxiety or awkwardness but find themselves stumped with knowing what to say. Working through improvisation and will transform your verbal confidence and social skills.

The next course will run on zoom and will start: Wednesday, 20th Jan @ 10 am & Thursday 21st Jan @ 6 pm

Next Express Yourself Workshop, is on March 14th 10.30 am-5.30 pm (subject to govt restrictions_ – another great way to get started.

You can book online for all my courses and events.

If you’re not sure which course is right for you, book a telephone appointment with me or get in touch by email

I look forward to hearing from you

Best, Claire