References and other related work info:
I write in support of Catherine Hoffmann’s application to Grants for the Arts, on behalf of my organisation (hÅb) and promoting project Word of Warning.
‘A Free Lunch With The Stench Wench’ explored the current climate of austerity through the medium of working class story and song. Its aim to stimulate a sense of community and hope in the face of adversity is a vitally important area of socially engaged practice to which Catherine can bring very real personal experience. Support at this stage will be vital to transform personal experience into well honed public outcome, and thereby to maximise the opportunity for real positive impact on an audience well beyond the normal arts reach, the ambition for which should be applauded and endorsed.
Tamsin Drury, HAb Arts
Catherine Hoffmann’s work is accessible, intelligent, entertaining and possessed of great integrity, which has a palpable, powerful impact on a diverse range of audiences. She is also an excellent workshop leader.
I am committed to offering time in-kind as part of her application, to support the creative development of the named project through feedback sessions; to share my experience of managing comparable professional development activity; to make available my existing network toward Catherine extending her field of contacts; and to help target opportunities for ongoing presentation and distribution of Catherine’s work. Catherine has a huge amount to offer within the landscape of live art in England. I have witnessed her work reach across audiences beyond those already interested in live art and I have great confidence in her work continuing to attract and develop new audiences. I commend her application wholeheartedly.
Dickie Beau, Research Fellow, School of English & Drama, Queen Mary University of London, Research Fellow, Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre, University of London, Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award-winner, 2014
Home Live Art has a longstanding working relationship with Catherine Hoffmann, supporting the development of a number of performance pieces. .
Catherine’s work is inquiring, challenging and experimental whilst remaining accessible and responsive to a very broad audience range - arts and non-arts alike. Catherine has the experience, skill and sensitivity to devise performative interactions that have humour, empathy, intimacy and insight giving audience members a sense of genuine exchange.
Home Live Art very much supports the application to develop a new solo project and to further her professional development in this particular line of work.
Mimi Banks, Director of Home Live Art
Catherine’s work weaves texts and voices into intricate layers of song and spoken word, poems, rants, movement and actions of yearning, rage, wit and wisdom. It is insightful, gutsy and deft with a sincerity of address.
Lisa Alexander, Curator and producer, Love Letters to a (Post-)Europe (2015)
Catherine's ability to discover a really integrated theatrical language is, on evidence, remarkable- the work is highly articulate even in its most ambivalent or contingent moments. The ideas are frequently surprising, the tonal qualities of the work rich and various. The textures are often dense but the organisation of elements, the total choreography of the work, is absolutely persuasive.
Chris Goode, Director and writer
Whatever Happened to The Glory Days?
Love Letters to a (post) Europe event
3rd October 2016
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.
A work that drew on transcripts from a series of interviews on ‘breaking up’ that were interwoven with my own texts on being broke, being a woman, on debt, desire, expectations, and the economy. Barefoot, clad in a striking red dress with a voice pedal and microphone for company, I wove these texts and voices into intricate layers of song and spoken word. My final episode involved tapping out the rhythm of a Gertrude Stein text with Euros thrown onto stage by the audience that I had strapped to my feet with red tape.
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
Examples of work
Guilt and Shame Hotline
an interactive one to one performance
Latitude Festival 2014
Archway with words Literary Festival 2014
Winns Gallery, Walthamstow 2014
Each person is welcomed into the Booth of shame and in privacy can share on the hotline phone a personal story related to guilt and shame. A voice message is left up to four minutes long. Once out of the booth I have a short discussion with each participant about if they still feel guilty or not. If they do I take them through a set of tasks depending on where they are at.
* I ask them to write their story headline on a paper bag and then they wear it, getting their head really stuck into all those feelings. Once the shutter release of a camera is clicked, capturing their words the aim is to release the guilt and shame forever.
* I spray the tears of repentance on their face
* The megaphone of renunciation is presented and the participant publically with the aid of declarations already scripted they vow whatever they need.
* As a reward for sharing their guilt they can choose one other guilt and shame voice message to listen to. Don't feel too guilty!
Highlighted by Lyn Gardener as one of the low key theatrical delights at Latitude Festival.
A guilt and shame opera will be made in 2016 using the voice message stories given and conversations shared.
Sprint Festival, CPT 2015
Dramaturgical assistance: Lesley Ewen
How do we heal ourselves and what happens when something breaks? What ties us together and makes us belong? How do we all connect?
Channelled voices, repetitive choreography, singing and audience participation aid the embodiment of personas as I dizzyingly look for clues about the world of human love, sex and separation.
Glory Days is a collection of interviews with 140 members of the public talking about love and loss. These words are sung, spluttered, lightly uttered and exposed. I attempt to create songs from the words, melody, rhythm and tone of each persons voice whilst recounting stories of past loves. I create a comfortable atmosphere where the audience create portraits, coins from purses and wallets are made into tap shoes and past loves are remembered.
I weave in my own struggles and insights with trying to connect and belong- the holding on and the letting go, in an attempt to celebrate the collective wounds we all carry.
‘She glows with life as she smashes her way through 140 interviews with people,
Possessed by their accents and energy into a singing and dancing fury.’
‘Catherine Hoffmann, is such a commanding presence…Her voice is full and gorgeous but the more bestial and primal her performance becomes, the more thrillingly alive the work feels…
THIS IS CABARET
‘When you came on you were really charismatic. I love the whole look of it the red and white it works very well. The comedic thing… I thought it was very very powerful. Strong, accessible but challenging.’
4 mins video excerpts of GLORY DAYS: