Cat Weatherill is a compelling storyteller. Strong and sexy, playful and passionate, her performances excite on the night and linger long in the memory. With her fiery female energy and theatrical style, Cat gives a gloriously feminine voice to an ancient art.
She was born and raised in Liverpool, where her great-uncle fell off the Liver Building, her grandmother saw an angel and her grandfather donated his shirt buttons to Beatles fans. Her ancestry is a mingling of Irish and Welsh blood – a natural result of Liverpool being the Celtic crossroads of Britain.
Cat studied drama at the University of Hull and has been a professional performer ever since. She began her career as an actor, spent several years as a singer then moved into arts in education. In 1997 she discovered storytelling and soon developed her distinctive performing style: bold, lyrical, physically expressive – and shamelessly seductive!
Storytelling and performances
Sometimes people think storytelling is like acting, but in many ways it is closer to stand-up comedy: a performer uses words to get an emotional response from an audience. The difference is that storytellers work with a wider palette of emotions than comedians. Yes, they can make you smile and laugh – that’s easy. But a gifted storyteller like Cat can also make people cry, because storytelling is all about painting pictures with words, and Cat can create gorgeous images with a single breath. She can make people sigh with delight or gasp in wonder. She can tell ghost stories that raise neck hairs and sexy stories that raise temperatures. She can be outrageously funny one moment then still the world with her singing voice. She can charm, bewitch and beguile. Time passes but her listeners don’t notice.
‘Audiences are invariably spellbound,’ raved Paris L’Express.
This is true. Cat has captivated audiences across Europe and beyond. This year alone she will be performing at festivals in Belgium, Austria, the Netherlands, Russia and Kenya. Her distinctive performance style, fiery female energy and love of emotionally-charged, intimate tales has assured her a place on many a booker’s wish list.
Cat’s appeal spans all ages and both sexes. She is adored by children, who instantly respond to her playful, high energy approach. The older generations relish her tales and welcome her clear spoken English. Teenagers expect to be unimpressed but are soon converted. Women find much to delight them: the use of language, the artistry of the performance, the strong feminine voice and most of all, the tales. Many women find Cat inspirational, as both a woman and as an artist. Cat is enormously flattered by this and, in response, created HOW TO BE GLORIOUS.
Her British storytelling festival appearances include Beyond the Border, Festival at the Edge and The West Country Storytelling Festival. She has performed at the three leading literature festivals in the UK – Hay, Cheltenham and Edinburgh – and a score of others, including Brighton, Bath, Durham, Oxford, Cambridge, Hull, Swindon and the Isle of Man.
International festival and story club appearances include Babel Contes at the Festival d’Automne in Paris, Graz Tales in Austria, the Fabula festival in Stockholm, BestTellers in Copenhagen, Verteltheaterdagen in Utrecht, the International Storytelling Festival in Singapore, Fabelhaft! (Austria), Alden Biesen (Belgium), De Verhalenboot (The Netherlands) Storymoja Hay Festival (Kenya), the Moscow Book Fair, Hay Festival Kerala (India)
Cat performs regularly in arts centres, story cafes, schools, libraries, museums, woods, castles and hotels across the country, She is also one of the busiest and best-loved storytellers on the National Rural Touring circuit. She began village touring in 1999 with her show Seductive Stories. Since then, she has visited countless village halls, community centres and churches, performing her shows for thousands of spellbound villagers. She has also performed at some of the most prestigious venues in the land, including the South Bank Centre and the Barbican Pit in London, and St David’s Hall in Cardiff – where she told stories to 1400 children. In 2009, she collaborated with the mighty folkband BELLOWHEAD to create a family show – The Tale of Tom Fortune and the Fearsome Bellowhead. This was commissioned by the South Bank Centre in London.
Because Cat specialises in ghost stories and has two medieval shows in her repertoire, she is often invited to perform in unusual venues. These include a haunted hotel bedroom, a beautiful abandoned Welsh chapel, various medieval barns, a Staffordshire pottery kiln (like an enormous chimney) a railway shunting shed, a still-consecrated church on Hallowe’en (with pumpkin lanterns on the tombs outside) and a ruined bishop’s palace at night, with bats flying in and out of the window behind her…
In education, Cat formed her own Cat & Company in 1997 to specialise in workshops and performances for primary aged children. This has since expanded in both directions, with Cat receiving regular bookings from nurseries and high schools. Over the years, she has worked with thousands of children in hundreds of schools and enjoyed residencies as both a storyteller and a visual artist. Cat is an acknowledged expert on contemporary playground games and her book Primary Playground Games is published by Scholastic.
On television, Cat has been a guest presenter on Carlton’s Heart of the Country. On radio, she has made recordings for Radio France and performed live for two million listeners on Radio 4’s flagship arts programme Front Row. She has also told stories on Radio Three’s The Verb, Radio 7’s Big Toe Show and Go For It! and numerous local radio stations.
As a writer, Cat has had three children’s novels published by Puffin – Barkbelly, Snowbone and Wild Magic. She has also written books for Pont (Jaco the Leek) and Caterpillar Books (By Lantern Light) Cat occasionally writes for adults, including a best selling Scholastic textbook for teachers (Primary Playground Games) a short story for primetime Radio 4 (Buddy) and pieces for The Times.