Singer, Songwriter, Actress, Treasure Seeker – these are just some of the many talents of Catherine Ireton. If you add to this one of the most exceptional singing voices that we heard live last year, then you can understand why we are excited about Catherine’s upcoming show, ‘What is it about that night‘, that is taking place in Brighton’s Theatre Royal on the 17th & 24th January. We were very lucky to get some of Catherine’s time as she put the finishing touches to the show.
Hi Catherine, how are you, where are you and what are you up too?
Hey, right now I am back in Brighton. Currently at this moment trying very hard to not open another packet of mini mince pies. But perhaps I should just do it, I need all the energy I can get this week as I’m in the middle of rehearsals for my new show, What is it about that night which opens next week at Theatre Royal Brighton.
How was Christmas & New Year? Any resolutions?
Resolutions are tricky business… I feel slightly superstitious about them, I feel if I tell you then the chances of me completing it somehow is greatly reduced. And anyway, their very dull really aren’t they. No-one ever resolves to “have more fun”… maybe that should be mine.
How did you find yourself living in Brighton?
2 years ago I moved here to do a Masters degree in Opera. (What was I thinking?!) I didn’t last in it very long. But if I’m honest, I had already decided I wanted to leave Scotland, and I already had my sights on somewhere warmer and by the sea so I was just looking for an excuse, tricking my scared self into pretending I wanted to be an opera singer was the necessary kick up the arse.
I see plans are afoot for a show at the Theatre Royal – anything you can share with us about what might be going on?
The performance is a promenade music piece so I will lead the audience in and around the building. I sing and play piano and yes, it’s true, I am also acting. But that, for me, is treading quite comfortable ground as I am also an actor.
It’s a one woman show and I play the role of the girl at Stage Door. The singing is the easy part, but it’s been a tricky time figuring how best to make the piano travel with the audience.
Are empty theatres not a spooky place to hang out?
The idea for the show itself is based on an experience I had when working at the Kings Theatre in Edinburgh. It was my job to lock up the old girl and so on my own at night I would walk the corridors of the dressing rooms backstage stage in the dark with a torch turning off lights and locking doors one by one. I didn’t find it spooky, I used to love being on the stage, staring out at the empty auditorium, imagining the applause, feeling the creative energy of the old theatre. This performance takes inspiration from that experience, and places it directly into the Theatre Royal Brighton. There are so many stories to tell about this old theatre. There’s something very magical about her at night- so much possibility – anything could happen in a fantasy, especially if you have an audience.
For those who have not seen you perform how would you describe your art?
Well, this piece is a bit of a new departure for me, but straight up I am a singer songwriter. I write songs and I sing them and play piano. It seems for some reason that I like to lug this piano into the most awkward places I can find. I still don’t have a case for it; I’m still bringing it round in the cardboard box it came in… I am very interested in spaces, how a space can affect a performance, and how a space can affect an audience.
We became aware of you and your music through the //Treasure Tracks// shows in 2012 – did you enjoy scouring the city for exciting locations for the shows?
Yes, for me, finding the venues was as exciting as performing. Scouting for venues for TT I realised how normally I would automatically suppress my curiosity. If I see a building and it looks interesting, do I go in, or just walk past? //TreasureTracks// opened this right up, and really made me look at this city in a new way. I found places really close to home that I walk past every day and never knew existed.
For the uninitiated please tell us what //Treasure Tracks// was and how you came up with the idea?
TT was a series of 4 secret gigs in unusual locations in Brighton. Small audiences followed a treasure hunt online and on the streets of Brighton to find out where the gig was; The Booth Museum, London Road Railway Station, your bedroom (in the way of a live streamed midnight feast) and backstage at the Dome. The location of each gig was inspired by one of my songs, and the treasure-hunting audience would get the track as their treasure after each gig.
We made it to the Train Station & The Dome and loved them both. Are you able to pick a favourite?
London Road Railway Station was an absolute treat. Finding it was particularly exciting, as I live close by and had never known that there was a model railway club inside the station. The Dome was also a perfect way to finish off the project. How many people get to say “I’ve sold out the Dome!”
What other plans do you have for 2013? Will we see an EP or Album?
That’s a good question. I have lots of plans. Perhaps too many!
I’ve just released the four songs from //TreasureTracks// as a mini album available to download on my website.
But if given the opportunity I’d quite like to tour “What is it about that night”
You obviously love the collaborative nature of your work, if you could pick anyone who would make up your top 3 collaborations?
Well currently I am really enjoying collaborating with Simon Magnus, director of Root Experience, so I’ll mention him. We often end up in the pub playing cards, but still manage to get a lot done.
Sufjan Stevens is definitely up there as one of my top three, would also like to go to the pub and play cards with him to be honest.
And if I could choose anyone, then Nina Simone
Finally, it is the season for picking artists to do well in 2013 – do you have any tips for us (after your good self of course
I am pretty rubbish at any type of predictions, but another Brighton female vocalist Abi Wade, she’s really worth checking out.
Tickets for What is it about that night can be purchased here
Thanks again to Catherine, we cannot wait to see the new show – hope to see some of you there!
We would also like to thank our friends at Brighton Music Blog - without whom we would have missed out on //Treasure Tracks// – if you want to know about music in Brighton then you need to keep an eye on their blog. A big thank you to chief Brighton Music Blog scribe, Mr Rob Orchard, for very kindly letting us use some of his excellent photos of Catherine at the //Treasure Tracks// shows