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Presents at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Cyst-er Act

13-25th August 2019


A messy, Live Art musical - Madame Ovary meets The Devils - probing into reproductive mishaps and monstrosities. Cyst-er Act is an attempt at healing - allowing women’s health and bodies more visibility… through ovary blues, punk, death metal and some gospel numbers thrown in. This will be the first time Catherine is bringing work to the Festival as a solo creator; expect songs, slime and speculums. 
Cyst-er Act asks what is it like to have your fallopian tube hacked off or to birth a 10lb cyst baby? The realm of the womb can be complex and bloody awesome…This new show is about Cath’s experience of having her ovary and fallopian tube cut off in 2017 after the discovery of a 10lb cyst that took over her entire stomach. She kept a diary throughout this and used her writing to create a show reflecting on illness, (re) production, sexuality and ageing. During the creative process, she spoke to other women about their health experiences, diving into the world of gynaecology and uncovering lost knowledge about women’s bodies. She will be joined by her two poly-cyst-ers.

“By offering my personal journey with my ovaries I hope to empower and to shine a light on the mysterious realm of women’s bodies. Not just for women but for men too. Every woman I spoke to said they knew very little about their own female health. None of us knew much about our own reproductive bodies and how easy it is for them to go off balance. I wanted to know why. I want us to be the experts of our own bodies again.” Catherine Hoffmann  


Catherine Hoffmann’s work addresses issues relating to who we are and the constraints in our contemporary lives. She uses personal history, absurd humour and song to create poignant work. In 2016-17 she toured the UK with Free Lunch with the StenchWench, a personal account of poverty and shame. Her work has featured in the Guardian, Exeunt, The Big Issue, The Stage, LADA’s book Love letters for a post Europe and for Hypatia – Feminist philosophy journal. Recent projects are for The Stephen Lawrence gallery, GISWIL Int. Performance Fest in Switzerland, The Nat. Portrait GalleryFestival of Love, Latitude, Buzzcut and SPILL. She was in Taylor Mac’s 24-Decade History of Popular Music at The Barbican, June 2018. She performs internationally with Lundahl and Seitl and collaborates with Florence Peake.


Cyst-er Act made a small tour in Spring 2019 to a fabulous reception and was accompanied by a series of Gynie Hubs – a space for women to talk and to share knowledge about their bodies and health. She will be offering these at Fringe Central this year. The first showing was at The Quarterhouse, for Int. Women’s day and was shown at the Space in Between part of Unlimited festival at The Southbank

Cyst-er Act is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and originally commissioned by Metal and Ovalhouse.


‘Catherine Hoffmann, is such a commanding presence…Her voice is full and gorgeous and the more bestial and primal her performance becomes, the more thrillingly alive the work feels'

(Glory Days)  This is Cabaret

‘‘A cross between performance art, stand-up, a gig and a call to arms. A humorous and truly compelling performance.

(Free Lunch with the StenchWench)   Desperate Optimists


SUMMERHALL, 1 Summerhall, EH9 1PL (Venue 26)

Tickets: £10/8

Preview: 13th August


Dates: 14th-18th August, 20th-25th August

12.05pm  (Running time: 55 minutes)

Box office: 0131 560 1581  


Instagram: cath_hoffmann


Images by Holly Revell:


For press enquiries, contact Catherine Hoffmann on 07720 758152 or

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