Image by Holly Revell
Her material is raw and her relay of it feels vital and clandestine.
Farcically serious, the work considers very real questions about women's health and how to integrate mainstream science with holistic medicine.
Hoffmann's irreverent humour works well as a juxtaposition to the pain, shame and embarrassment that women still are expected to put up with.
A messy, musical ritual - Madame Ovary meets The Devils - probing into reproductive mishaps and monstrosities.
What is it like to have your fallopian tube hacked off? Or to give birth to a 10lb cyst baby? The realm of the womb can be complex and bloody awesome…
Cyst-er Act is a new work written about Cath’s personal experience of having an ovary removed due to a large cyst that took over her entire stomach, and the discoveries of other women's womb difficulties. It uncovers lost knowledge about women's bodies and how these interior things occur through ovary blues, punk, death metal and some gospel numbers thrown in.
Joined on stage by her 'Poly-Cysters', Sarahjane Grimshaw and Amanda Radix, expect songs, slime, speculums and stripteasing nuns – Welcome to the wonders of the womb.
Originally shown at Ovalhouse and the Southbank centre. Supported by Arts Council England, Metal and Ovalhouse.
Concept, writing and performance Catherine Hoffmann
Performers Sarah Jane Grimshaw and Amanda Radix
Direction and dramaturgy of initial R+D phase Jan Van den Bosch Witch doctor Tom Marshman
Choreographic assistance Florence Peake
Outside eyes Louise Mothersole, Madeleine Hodge
Lighting Designer Marty Langthorne
Costume Designer of habits and wimples Jack Goode
Producer Laura Sweeney
Engagement Producer Siobhan McGrath
Photography Holly Revell and Manuel Vason
13-25th August, 12.05pm
Edinburgh Fringe Fest
Wednesday 17th April, 8pm
Colchester Arts Centre
Wednesday 10th April, 8pm
Norwich Arts Centre
Wednesday 3rd April, 7.30pm
Saturday 16th March, 4pm
POW! Turner Contemporary Margate
Sunday 10th March, 5.30pm
Pay what you decide
Thursday 9th Sep 2018
The Space in Between, Unlimited festival
7-9th June 2018
2.Free lunch with the StenchWench
‘A cross between performance art, stand-up, a gig and a call to arms. A humorous and truly compelling performance.’
‘Catherine Hoffmann's StenchWench is a labour of love and hits a home run for the proletariat! If you like your shows raw, real and dipping with beauty, go see this one. It will not disappoint.’
‘At once funny, touching and full of sadness, StenchWench focuses on a harsh hidden upbringing in the UK, marked out by class and abject poverty. Cath takes us on a journey through some very personal experiences in her childhood struggle for survival and the lengths society makes us go to appear ‘normal’.’
Gill Lloyd, Co-Director Artsadmin
A solo show exploring the personal and shared experiences of growing up as one of the ‘feral underclass’ in relation to today’s ‘Austerity Britain’. Fleas, cheap clothes, thrifty bread, cold baths, and debauched disadvantaged dancing will be unleashed as I chart the drive for survival and fitting in.
Stories and songs about how to get by will be shared whilst I attempt to overcome the shame of bareness and celebrate our spirit of community and hope.
A one woman flea circus doled up with faded glory, austerity pants, mouldy scones and hot chocolate.
Supported by The Arts council England, The Bike shed, Kingsley hall
A development following on from showings at Domestic Festival, Salford, presented by Word of Warning and The Guinness Partnership.
The full show previewed at Toynbee studios, Artsadmin on June 14th 2016.
Also shown at Beyond Bloodlines festival at The Cockpit, 11th June. 7.30pm
It went on to tour UK Theatres and art centres throughout 2017/18 including MAC, Birmingham, 'Common' festival at CPT, Norwich arts centre, Colchester arts centre, Buzzcut, Live Art Bistro, Leeds, Wardrobe Theatre, Bristol.
Written and performed by Catherine Hoffmann
Producer: Laura Sweeney
Lighting Designer: Marty Langthorne
Press and PR: Anna Goodman, Abstrakt PR
Production: Malachy Orozco
Outside eyes: Florence Peake, Dickie Beau, Katy Baird
Photography: Lesley Ewen, Richard Davenport
Filmed by Tim Newton
Interviews and articles about Free Lunch with the StenchWench:
By Dr. Alexandra Kokoli, Toward a Synaesthetics of Poverty and Shame in Catherine Hoffmann's Performance.
-Let's get Classy - Live art, class and cultural privilege
3. Whatever Happened to The Glory Days?
As part of Love Letters to a (post) Europe event and book
Toynbee studios, London,
Edge Hill Arts centre, Ormskirk,
Performance Space, Folkestone
3rd October 2016
Versions also performed at GISWIL Performnace Art festival , Switzerland, 2019
Making an Exit festival, Chisenhale, London, 2019
A curated event of short works performed in the context of a rapidly changing Europe and in a city whose country is currently bearing the brunt of austerity.
Other Participating artists:
Friday 2 October
Kate Adams (UK), Demosthenes Agrafiotis (GR), Brian Catling & David Tolley (UK), Tim Etchells (UK), Alec Finlay (UK) performance: Haris Attonis, Wendy Houstoun (UK), Brian Lobel (USA/UK), Georgios Makkas (GR), Kira O’Reilly (IR/UK) performance: Vassiliki Dimou
Erica Scourti (UK/GR), Maria Sideri (GR), Jungmin Song (KR), Yoko Tawada (JP/DE)
Saturday 3 October
cris cheek (UK), Robin Deacon (UK/USA), Matthew Goulish (USA) performance: Evdokia Delipetrou, Guy Harries (UK), Steven C Harvey (UK), Georgios Makkas (GR), Mikhail Karikis (GR/UK), Claire MacDonald (UK), performance: Evangeli Fili, Ivana Müller (HR/FR), Mariela Nestora (GR) and group, Florence Peake (UK), Anna Sherbany (UK), Nikki Tomlinson (UK)
In the Greek language there are more than four words for Love. Five years ago Europe entered a deep crisis indicating something that ran a lot deeper still, ‘a crisis of social imagination’ in which economic dogma had ‘taken hold of public discourse’ according to Berardi. This also marked the start of Europe’s uprising by its people: the encampments in Madrid, Athens, Rome, London and beyond. The body’s presence in public squares confirmed something infinite and unquantifiable to a global system. Now we seem to have come full circle and economic dogma is being used to inflict regime change. There has been a lot of debate on what has been enacted in the name of Europe over the last few months.
This event asks artists to respond with the action, idea or form of a love letter. Of now. It may also be ending it. An action approaching another, a double listening.
Levelled at this crisis of social imagination, economic dogmatism and neoliberal tyranny is imagination, empathy, sensuality, presence, being together, singular witnessing, living manifestos, stories, acts of friendship, fellowship, solidarity, refusals of order, nonsense, gifting, calls from and to the wilderness, rants, tough love, seductions, messages in brokenness, adoration, utopias and post-utopias, songs from the margins, addressing the now.
Concept and curation: Lisa Alexander
Production: Lisa Alexander & BIOS