A celebratory feast of facts, folklore, strange superstitions, old stories, mythology, poems and songs, all on the theme of British trees.
Presented against a slideshow of gorgeous woodland images by forester and photographer Phil Hinton
Ariadne & the Minotaur is a re-imagining of the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, told from the point of view of Ariadne.
She is generally seen as a lovelorn victim, abandoned by Theseus after helping him kill the Minotaur. Cat’s version tells a different story. Her Ariadne is a determined young woman, passionate and strong. But she is tormented by the howls coming from the Labyrinth. The Minotaur is her half-brother, and she has promised to save him from the darkness. Years have gone by, and she hasn’t been able to do it. But then a black-sailed tribute vessel from Athens arrives, and the spindle of her destiny starts to unwind…
The tale is told with shruti box and song.
Ariadne had its premiere at the Hay Festival 2013. Beautifully balancing strength and vulnerability, it proved to be a mesmerising performance from one of the UK’s most passionate performers:
‘Not even the waterfall outside the tent, the remedial construction work in an adjoining tent nor the unintentional background music from two distinct cultures put her off her stride. I was truly lost beneath the labyrinths of ancient Crete. An awesome piece of storytelling mastery. Fabulous stuff.’
‘It was a dazzling evening. Not only was the performance superb, as you would expect of someone with her experience and skill, but her adaptation of the story was, in my view, outstanding. She chose to tell it not just as an ancient myth, but as a close look at relationships, particularly that between Ariadne and her half-brother, the Minotaur, bringing out all the pity and pathos of it, preparing us in subtle ways for the mounting, enfolding tragedies. This was well within the tradition of the Classical story and tradition, but gave it a slant which engaged our modern sensibilities as well. Unforgettable. It will be a classic in itself and also – I hope – grow and grow.’
‘Every moment full of LIFE!!! Mesmerising.’
‘A glorious and passionate retelling’
‘Amazing retelling of a myth already loved.’
‘Truly gifted. Wonderful storytelling. Wonderful story.’
‘A truly fantastic tale of mystery and imagination – on so many levels. Fantastically told. And the death of the Minotaur was awesome.’
Good company, a bottle of wine, something to nibble, and the curvaceous Cat turning up the heat with tantalising tales and glorious singing… sensazionale!! Italian folk tales are as full bodied as their wine. So fill your glass, relax, and fly away with Cat to the land of passion…
‘ Amazing. Lost in Paradise.’
‘If troubadour is the right word – that’s you! A thoroughly enjoyable evening.’
‘A fabulous evening. Cat holds you captive till the end of the wonderful stories she weaves.’
‘Yet again an enchanting and magical set of stories! You are such a brilliant storyteller and gave us all a wonderful evening of laughter and enjoyment. I look forward to your fourth appearance in Whatcote!’
Cat Weatherill’s Bluebeard is a journey into obsession. Inspired by Perrault’s classic gothic horror story, it’s magnificently dark, erotic and disturbing. But it’s also a celebration of the love of sisters and the resilience of women.
This is a defiantly female version of the tale, in which the sister and mother of the bride, Eva, are given far greater prominence. Eva also is awarded infinitely more emotional complexity than usual, as she explosively transforms from a victim into a survivor who will not ‘rake through the ashes for half burned hopes.’
‘Totally captivating… stunning. Cat leads audiences into those deep places where nothing is spared, and dark and light are laid bare. Inspirational.’ Dr Pauline Mottram. Manchester Metropolitan University.
Bluebeard was shortlisted for Storytelling Performance of the Year in the British Awards for Storytelling Excellence 2012
Bluebeard is part of Cat’s Red Energy strand. Red Energy Theatre explores emotion through story, to engage the heart and stir the soul.
‘In terms of composition and performance, the finest spectacle at Beyond the Border 2012’ – Tim Ralphs
‘Transformative. I’d expected shock horror, but not the journey into my own subconscious you so masterfully led.’
‘Dark, awesome, truthful and beautiful. I have seen and heard so many wonderful storytellers, but your story opened another, stranger, more terrifying window. Thank you so much.’
‘Very impressive, very courageous.’
‘Amazing performance. Very disturbing.’
‘If Carslberg did storytellers, you would be it. Wow.’
‘An incredibly haunting tale, told with such energy. I studied Bluebeard at university, and this has completely transformed my feelings and thoughts of the tale.’
‘Highly unusual, atmospheric and wonderfully spooky. Beautiful singing.’
‘Amazing. Gave me chills – in a good way.’
‘An extraordinary performance… The full horror of it. Time flew.’
‘Cat is always entertaining, often surprising and challenging, but more than that she is inspirational, and with How to Be Glorious she is all of these’
Francesca Kay, Beyond the Border International Storytelling Festival 2012
HOW TO BE GLORIOUS is a transformational show about making things happen in your life, finding a second chance at happiness in middle age and seeing a way out of the shadows into the sunshine.
Cat tells the story of Faye, a restless 44 year old housewife who finds a trapdoor in her house with a secret staircase beneath. She escapes suburbia into a world of fantasy lovers, dark forests, moonlit lakes and glowing lanterns. Her desire? To be glorious. And for a feisty heroine in supermarket knickers, that’s quite an adventure…
HOW TO BE GLORIOUS is something different – a compelling, deeply personal show that touches hearts and moves minds. Funny, sexy, joyous, fiery, uplifting, but rooted in the reality of midlife, this is truly entertainment for grown ups.
‘I am 44 and am in need of a trapdoor! Thank you for making me feel glorious!’
‘Absolutely fabulous – love it.’
‘Thank you for taking me on my own adventure.’
‘A wonderful show! Happy to have come. Such a presence! It was a marvelous tale told in a delicious way: it reminds people how it is beautiful to become yourself by your own and with love.’
‘What a splendid title! And an insightful reflection. Thank you for your contribution to empowering women to feel special and valued. The father-daughter importance was poignant. How hard for those who never knew that… How do they manage to pick up the pieces?’
‘What a wonderful evening’s entertainment! Wow! What can I say? All sorts of truths, feelings stirred up. Beautifully spoken and absolutely fascinating.’
‘Merci pour ce conte de Fay! Formidable.’
‘Heartfelt. Incredibly well observed and experienced. Thank you for saying exactly how it feels. Cat – you have great passion. Your delivery is empowering and leaves your fortunate audience feeling ‘normal’ but ‘gloriously’ so.’
‘How did you know my story so intimately? I am left with the words of Finn, who can’t make her glorious – only feel glorious. Wise woman you are. I loved the many beautifully described scenes that helped me ride the soul journey.’
‘We completely identified with this magical story. Our lights are glowing bright.’
‘Thank you Sister x’
‘Brilliant. Astonishing. Moving. A tour de force. I really enjoyed it. Congratulations!’
‘Wonderfully inspiring and thought provoking. Beautiful singing. Glorious!’
‘Fantastic. All women should hear it.’
‘Truly glorious, thank you. I am left wondering about those trampled dreams; cringing at the men I’ve inadvertently crushed , and resolved to get out there and be glorious!’
Beyond the cosy fireside and the flickering tv screen there’s another world. It’s dark, shadowy and guarded by ghosts. And that’s where you’re going tonight.
Ghost is a collection of dark and brooding tales swept up from the hearthsides of world folk tradition. They may be old, but time hasn’t diminished their mysterious power. On the contrary. These tales still have teeth, and they’ll follow you home…
The best fairy tales are told only when the children are asleep. In the stillness of night, their strange, timeless potency drifts like perfume, filling our minds with images that are familiar yet deeply mystifying. Hearts are quickened by dark desires, startled by casual cruelty… soothed with the balm of happiness.
Falling Like Feathers is a journey into the dreamlike landscape of fairy tales. Laced with luscious language and shimmering images, it’s a step from the safety of the path into the delicious danger of the forest.
A mysterious, flame-haired storyteller arrives at a snowbound castle to tell stories to a haughty queen, her 17 year old daughter and assorted guests. The storyteller is told to watch what she says. ‘I know how you storytellers work,’ says the queen. ‘You charm us with your soft smiles and wonderful words. You enchant and beguile but all the while you are sowing seeds in our minds. Firing our imaginations. Feeding our dreams. Such power you have in those seductive little tongues of yours…’
As the snow deepens outside, the storyteller tells of witch-maidens and marsh queens, clay dolls, flowers with the power to wipe memories, poisoned apples, talking doves and a sword sharp enough to wound the wind. And the queen is right – the storyteller is working a mysterious magic with her wonder tales and she will not leave the castle as she found it…
The show is performed with dulcimer and song. Running time approx 2 x 50 plus interval
For adult audiences (12+)
‘A spellbinding evening. Very unusual and entertaining.’
‘Marvellous – taken away to a different world!’
‘Quite enthralling – I thoroughly enjoyed it.’
‘A welcome escape into the world of make-believe!’
‘What a magical way to spend a Friday evening after a workaday week.’
‘Excellent storytelling. Feeds the imagination and full of character and humour.’
‘Absolutely loved it. THAT’S what’s making me want to tell stories. Never stop!’
‘So very vivid, we thought we’d seen the stories. Thank you for a wonderful evening.’
‘Thank you so much – everyone enjoyed the evening immensely.’
‘You showed us that fairy tales are not just for children – and some are not for children at all!’