Free Lunch with the StenchWench

Dates and Times

Thu 30 March - Sat 1 April at 7.15pm

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Ticket information


Book Tickets

Part of our Spring 2017 season, running from January – June 2017. Why not take advantage of our double bill ticket offer – two shows on the same night for just £16. Simply add the shows into your basket, and we’ll do the rest! Browse our full programme here.

Presented by Catherine Hoffmann


A humiliating scrap with growing up skint in flat broke Britain.

Free Lunch with the StenchWench is a rallying cry for times of brutal cuts and disparity, a solo account of shame and poverty from a personal perspective.

Charting the drive for survival and fitting in, the StenchWench shares stories of growing up as one of the ‘feral underclass’ whilst precariously existing in Austerity Britain today. Cheap clothes, thrifty bread, cold baths, and debauched disadvantaged dancing will be investigated as Catherine charts the drive for survival and fitting in. Stories and songs about how to get by and make do will be shared about her itinerate childhood in the 70’ and 80’s, whilst she attempts to overcome the shame of ‘lack’ and celebrate our spirit of community and hope.

Expect a one-woman flea circus with faded glory, austerity pants, drop scones and hot chocolate.

Catherine rallies against economic shame as a device to keep people powerless, and explains why that means breastfeeding a rat. Read the blog here.

Director, producer and filmmaker Paul Sng reviwes Free Lunch with the StenchWench here.

Free Lunch with the StenchWench is developed with the support of The Bike Shed Theatre, Exeter, Stanley Halls and Arts Council England.

Image credit – Lesley Ewan

About the artist

Catherine Hoffmann creates a mixture of staged pieces and interactive one-to-one performances across a range of contexts, including the independent circuit and with prestigious partners.  She performs internationally with Lundahl and Seitl, collaborates with Florence Peake and is also part of Dickie Beau’s drag family- House of Strange Loops. She presented ‘These Tender Alms’ with Lesley Ewen at Spill festival in October 2016.


Audience feedback & press

“The performance artist fighting class shame with drop scones and dead rats”Interview with Catherine Hoffman on Free Lunch with the Stench Wench, The Guardian

“Charting the drive for survival and fitting in, the StenchWench shares stories of growing up as one of the feral underclass whilst precariously existing in Austerity Britain today” – The F Word blog, March 2017

“A cross between performance art, stand-up, a gig and a call to arms” – Christine Molloy, Desperate Optimists 

“Catherine Hoffmann’s StenchWench is a labour of love and hits a home run for the proletariat! If you like your shows raw, real and dipping with beauty, go see this one. It will not disappoint.” – Stacy Makishi

“At once funny, touching and full of sadness, StenchWench focuses on a harsh hidden upbringing in the UK, marked out by class and abject poverty. Cath takes us on a journey through some very personal experiences in her childhood struggle for survival and the lengths society makes us go to appear ‘normal'” – Gill Lloyd, Co-Director Artsadmin

 “Catherine Hoffmann is such a commanding presence. Her voice is full and gorgeous and the more bestial her performance cabaret becomes, the more thrillingly alive the work feels.” – This is Cabaret

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