‘The text was expertly crafted, the actor’s performances were very strong and beautiful music was sung by an accomplished choir’

The Evening Herald on ‘Catherine’

Tucked away behind the main artery of Plymouth’s Royal Parade, Catherine Street is a hidden gem where the sites and remains of old alms houses, workhouses, orphan’s aid and early health care provision jostle with a cluster of faith houses including the oldest Ashkenazi synagogue in continuous use in the English speaking world and the city’s oldest domestic dwelling the ‘Prysten House’.

‘Catherine’ was set on Catherine street, at a time of collective amnesia, when the city had forgotten what its history or function was and so had embarked on a collective effort to re-remember itself. Audience members were invited on a journey down the street to help;

‘Good Afternoon. Thank you very much indeed for coming here today. And if nothing else is achieved, at least this is achieved, that we have gathered. That much at least will not be forgotten.’

 The Introducer from ‘Catherine’ by Peter Oswald, playwright

Inspired by the stories of shell shock and the city planners who met at the Prysten House to re-plan the city after the war, Peter Oswald, playwright and Hugh Nankivell, composer, used fragments of memory, stories, songs and history to create a highly poetic text and a beautiful score sung by a local choir leading us through buildings and down alleyways in search of an answer; ‘that by starting with Catherine and by the gathering together and the singing of things we see, we might remember’.

‘what a fascinating way to explore a street and discover its history!’

Audience member on ‘Catherine’