Life in a caberet

By Kate Jones

Let me introduce you to Ruby Truelove aka Cat Lively aka Catherine Watling Breen aka producer extraordinaire of the Neon Moon burlesque and cabaret show.

Welcome to the wonderful world of the CamCreatives CIC meet-up! This month Paul Smith chatted with Catherine Watling Breen about her life in cabaret.

Catherine’s road to cabaret is a squiggly one but there is a common theme – i.e. what can the audience contribute to art?

Let’s start our journey with Catherine the artist.

Catherine trained as a fine artist in Manchester and then moved to Bergen in Norway on the Erasmus scheme. In Bergen, she explored the intersection of art and science. She returned to Cambridge as the artist in residence at the Cavendish Lab.

Catherine wanted to dispel the idea that art is untouchable and created pieces when the audience was invited to touch and interact with the art. When you involve the audience you create engagement and experiences and in return, the audience responds and makes the art come to life. We heard how her audiences and the cabaret community are a really important part of the show.

After meeting Eddie Barcan from Splendid Events (who was running Salon Rogue among many other things) and taking a small role performing on stage, Catherine then found herself on tour for the next 12 years!

She then started her own burlesque and cabaret club with a 3-year residency at Anstey Hall. After navigating the disastrous covid years, she has come back even stronger, working at Glastonbury, the Commonwealth Games, creating a new business called Neon Sun (teaching family-friendly circus skills) and even planning a West End run.

It was a positive, life-affirming session and I took away three important lessons:
1) Explore your life through curiosity
2) Take the opportunity to step out of your everyday life
3) If you can do 1 and 2 above with an alter ego, even better!

Next time at CamCreatives we have Elizabeth Buie PhD FRSA talking about experience design and December sees the return of our fabled Christmas quiz. Don’t miss out – join the MeetUp.

If you are interested in doing a talk in 2024 get in touch with the CamCreatives team.

Paul Smith interviews Catherine Watley Breen