The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) invited Catherine to run an arts project with asylum seekers. After a six-month workshop process supported by volunteers and staff, we presented a ‘work in progress showing'. This developed into a major production ‘Journey of Asylum Waiting'. 30 asylum seekers took command of the stage achieving a SOLD-OUT two-week season at Trades Hall 2010.
The play was published in 'Staging Asylum’ by Currency Press in an anthology of six contemporary Australian Plays about Refugees edited by Emma Cox. Catherine then created 'Not Just My Story' with 22 asylum seekers featuring at the Human Rights Arts Film Festival 2011. Catherine continued to develop creative work with ASRC for Light in Winter 2011 - 2014. Collaborated with Change Media on a project 'The Perfect Refugee'. In 2015 she developed an audience interactive piece ‘This is NOT a protest’ for Big West Festival in which asylum seekers became the 'decision makers', deciding whether the audience were eligible to enter the house.
Catherine's led numerous projects with many communities, following are a few; 1994 accessed women from Royal Park Psychiatric Hospital to join Brunswick Women’s Theatre to explore the theme 'Isolation'.
1997 Developed ‘Voices out of the Blue’ with the Boomerang Club at Incubator Theatre.
2001 Collaborated with Massimo Ranieri and his 'Body Culture' work at psychiatric respite centre in Rome.
2019 Be You Be Scene - developed scenes with international students specific to questions of mental health .
2017 - 2020 'Listening to Voices' is a Gateway Health project that challenges the dominant discourse that hearing voices means 'Mad Bad Dangerous'. This is done through the creation of performances that reveal trauma at the base and people's capacity for discovery, connection, healing and hope. LTV has delivered performances within regional NSW and Victoria as well as for trainings and conferences.
Asialink Residency in Timor-Leste with Many Hands International 2011 - 2012.
Catherine developed performances with youth theatre group Nafo Fila in Ainaro on: Child Labour. Rights to Education. Domestic Violence and Marriage Rights.
A major achievement was also the transformation of sacred ancestor stories into performance. (Our Culture: Many Different Stories), which brought together lia-nain (cultural leaders), expert women weavers and 40 youth performers from Sanggar Haburas.
Three Sides of the Coin
Create performance scenes that are presented to services and communities throughout Victoria and inter-state, to communities such as: soup kitchens, in prison, sports clubs etc. As professional development for Magistrates, Lifeline workers, local council etc. Melbourne writers festival. Parliament House etc
Currently we're developing an online, interactive experience called 'Recovery Gamble' and running workshops for new participants.
2005 - 2006 Collaborated with 'Women's Health in the North and BWT to run workshops and create performances with migrant women about 'pokies’
Since 1992 Catherine as facilitator and director of Brunswick Women’s Theatre successfully engaged, sustained and connected Culturally And Linguistically Diverse women in rigorous yet intimate theatrical processes. Empowered to explore stories of migration, social upheaval, work exploitation, public and private violence, women became the protagonists of powerful contemporary dramas that celebrated human resilience.
Brunswick Women’s Theatre grew from a ‘location’ to an ‘identity’ there was a request for the work in Hume 2006 - 2011. Catherine has developed projects with organisations such as; Victorian Immigrant Women’s Refugee Coalition. Arabic Welfare. Victoria Arabic Social Services. Women’s Health in the North.
In 2008 she collaborated with Project Respect where she met with listened to the stories of seven Thai women who'd been trafficked into the sex industry in Australia. They went onto develop 'Prostitute who is she?" a performance engaging women exiting the sex industry (supported by actors) and the sound recordings of the Thai women. One of theThai women actually became part of the public performance and the experience totally transformed her life and returned dignity. We are planning other projects.
Moreland and Darebin Councils approached Catherine to develop a project with international students about gambling. She created 'Life’s a Gamble' with Latrobe Students. The Centre for Ethnicity and Youth then replicated the program in conjunction with Melbourne Uni. Two more powerful performances “Where are You From’ and ‘A Different Sky’ were created with Latrobe.
City of Melbourne then invited Catherine to present a show to local residents and to develop creative workshops in the city for students, Act of Translation (AOT) was the born from these ideas (See documentary) Be You Be Scene (Stories at the Heart of Change) (led by ISANA) evolved from AOT and devised dynamic scenes with over forty international students: Themes addressed: Mental Health. LGBTIQ, Cultural difference, Accommodation. Employability resulting in scenarios being created and presented across 20 different sites, both in Melbourne and regionally. Urged forward (due to the success of the work) by both students and stakeholders, we recently created 'Story Is Connection'
Theatre is Catherine's artform however her ability to build trust, listen to stories in a way that creates connection is the base. She facilitated and co designed projects/events that engaged community in the sharing of stories to address issues which resulted in soundscapes and multimedia films that became a ‘messenger’. Hanging out and listening to people was paramount to her ability to work in community.
Selected as one of three projects developed via residences in Europe as part of BeSpectactive 2015 ‘YES Move. NO Move. (Moved?)’ questioned 'rights to movement' (political, economic, social and cultural) who has the right to move and who does not?
Catherine worked as the community engagement specialist and director in an ensemble of international dance and theatre artists (Bridget Fiske, Melita Jurassic, Andrew Crofts and Joseph Lau).
The work's research occurred via residencies in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in Prague, Czech Republic and in Sibiu, Romania. During these residencies, the creative team engaged in a series of conversations and creative workshops with individuals and local communities. (people seeking asylum, migrant workers, activists, Roma people and others). These people informed, directed and responded as active participants in the creation of this work It culminated in challenging interactive dance theatre piece that asked, what’s really at stake when we fail to embrace the other in ourselves?