The fairy, the actress and the mother - Catherine Beger

Hello everybody,

Theatre is about somebody in front of me.  I can choose to imagine with his help that it is somebody else, somebody that I will love or that I will hate or just somebody that will make me dream. It is about the show... or rather the words in his mouth that will make me imagine a place that I want to be, a place that can make me feel different, full of emotions.
As a guest on her little stage I was amazed how quickly she can make kids and adults alike join her on a trip to the bottom of the sea. Maybe it was the right music that just tickled your ears and made everybody dream or the soft tone of her voice telling the story… or maybe….
Who is Catherine Beger?

Izzy:  Dear Catherine, seeing you on the stage made me feel like a child again. I felt the need to listen, to dream to be part of the story. So did the other small guests that you had there with you. 
Who are you?
C.B.: Sometimes I ask myself the same question: ‘Who am I?’……I suppose I’m lucky enough in my profession to be whoever I want to be J I am a theatre director/actor/story maker/script writer and probably most important to me…..a teacher. I come from Great Britain and am part Welsh, part Irish and part English. I trained as an actor and teacher in London and came to Cyprus in 1999. In that year I set up Antidote Theatre with Co-director Xenakis Kyriakides which we ran together for 13 years. During that time we made 100’s of performances and taught many many children. Three of our shows toured extensively around the world. We parted ways at the beginning of this year and Little Muse Theatre was born. I am a single mother and am blessed with a very beautiful four year old daughter called Daisy. What I do is who I am and I feel that in the small way I can work towards inspiring children’s imaginations is fundamentally why I am here in the world.

Izzy: How does it feel to live your life on a stage everyday surrounded by so many kids? Being somebody else most of the time… is there also time for you? How is your life as a mother and as a woman?
C.B.: I’m a bit like Peter Pan I suppose…….most women have to invest a lot on beauty products to delay the ultimate aging process…….I work with kids and their playfulness and imagination and willingness to fly with me (even the teenagers)  keeps me eternally young on the inside and at least my wrinkles are mostly laughter lines. As a single mum running my own company it is hard to have a life, but I manage to go running five mornings a week after I drop my daughter at school and I have a ‘friend’ who cooks me dinner sometimes and helps me put my theatre life on hold for a few hours. And I have a great circle of friends who look out for me. So it’s always a question of juggling but I can’t complain J

Izzy: Is talking with mermaids as easy as talking with your daughter? Do you still have the energy for her? Are there are any conflicts in your house? How do you handle them?
C.B: My daughter is my mermaid, my princess, my little owl whatever she wants to be. All my work for children from 0-5yrs was inspired by her growth and development as I had never worked with this challenging age range before she was born. She advises me on all my work and as u can imagine we are two female personalities in the house so on the subject of conflict…….she challenges my strength of character by coming back at me with twice the energy/twice the authority/and twice the stubbornness that is very much part of my character. She is very opinionated but I have always talked to her straight and discussed things with her and she is able to accept logical explanations. She makes me laugh a lot and I admire her tenacity. Main problem at the moment is her obsession with a tablet that her father bought her. She talks about it non-stop and I don’t want it in our house not because I am anti technology but she is only 4 yrs old and I want her to enjoy playing and reading.

Izzy: I see you as a person who had lots of experiences with kids, what is your opinion about today kids’ education and our expectations? Is it different from the day when you were a child? Do we expect more from our kids? Is there time for theater in their life?
C.B.: Of course it is very different now and although I love what I do, I realize sadly that in some senses people are paying me to teach their children to learn to play again and use their imagination. Everything is so instant so quick that children lose the journey of creation which is the fun part, not the end result. Theatre is a natural part of a child’s play time and it will always be there in their home made puppet shows and the conversations they have with their teddy. Technology plays a huge part in trying to replace this and in that we have to be careful….of course we have to move with the times. I only suggest to parents that tablets and I-pads etc are closely monitored and don’t replace creative play. We must also be careful not to fill their lives with so many activities and obligations that they have no time for themselves or to find themselves. Often in the quest to provide our kids with what we didn’t have and to ensure that they are stimulated in all possible directions has a boomerang effect and this is what in many ways my new play ‘Alice’ is about.

Izzy: I must not forget to ask you about entertaining at kids’ birthday parties. Is it something different having you there with all the children around you! How do you decide what to do with them? Is it all on the spot and you improvise using your experience or it is something more?
C.B.: I have two birthday party packages. For kids 2-7yrs I offer a story performance……a 20 minute show (as you saw on Sat) plus craft and games connected to the story. For older children 7-11yrs I run a 90 minute theatre workshop full of fun games and improvisation tailored around a specific theme if they wish. It’s all planned in advance although of course improvisation is always there at my finger tips if necessary.

Izzy: Let’s not forget about Alice. Everybody knows Alice. But how does Catherine have time to write Alice? What can you bring new to Wonderland?
C.B.:  I identified with the story of Alice at a time in my life where I had to take risks and go it alone and find my own independent voice and thus the idea was born. Writing it was a real challenge as I have to make my Alice story for two actors and in a way that I could limit the language and be able to learn it in Greek. The play is loosely based on Lewis Carroll’s book ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ with its own twist: “The original story follows a child’s journey towards maturity which makes it the perfect vehicle to explore the theme of personal growth. In our version, Mr. Apollonius is a travelling showman, eager for his daughter Alice to follow in his footsteps, sing like him and take centre stage. She is shy and cannot be what he wants her to be and so she runs away, but tumbling into Wonderland, Alice meets a host of strange characters and begins a journey of discovery to find her own voice.”

Izzy: Being a foreigner in Cyprus … how did you manage to find friends to help you organize such a big event? Who is behind Catherine?
C.B.: Having been in the business in Cyprus for 14years I have made many good connections and friendships in Cyprus with the Ministry of Education, Larnaca Town Hall, teachers, schools, parents, small businesses, people who have been aware of my extensive work with children and young people and wish to offer their support. In 2012 my play ‘Hide & Seek’ (Kriftouli) won best children’s play with THOK (Cyprus National Theatre)  2009-2011. So that also gave weight to my mission.
The current time for those of us involved in the arts has been very difficult due to the crisis but still people have come forward to help in what -ever way they can.

Izzy: And now a Story… a Story for the parents who are in love with their children but just sometimes they forget how to show their love again.
C.B.: Remembering the excitement and adventure of new discoveries is an important part of parenting that is sometimes neglected........and if the parent is sharing the adventure then there is no question of money involved only the joy of the quest.
My own parents were very poor and there were very few excursions to museums/fun parks and Zoos but somehow I remember magical fairy woods, the fun of window shopping, cave hunting, apple scrum ping, Indiana Jones crusades and sharing those moments with your child is fantastic.
For example in August when the heat was unbearable, there was very little to do and most of my daughter's friends and mothers were day I said to Daisy 'Are you ready for an adventure?' and spontaneously we jumped on a bus (as I don't drive) 'Where shall we go?' I said.  She said 'To a castle' ........'Okay' I said. Now in reality we sneaked into Sandy Beach Hotel, dived in the pool and lunched like two ladies.........but for Daisy........she and mummy were in a castle with all the rich people........on a secret mission to rescue a princess, finding frogs in the pool and looking for golden balls.....I can't do this all the time and of course my daughter is aware that I split my time between her and work........but I will always make time to make sure that the magic of childhood for her .......and all the children I teach is boundless and anything is possible if you believe in it.

My dreams are on the other side of the mountain. Gone with the wind time flies but I will not live behind my kids smiles. Alice takes us with you in Wonderland!

Lots of sunny days from Izzy the Cypriot lizard!

Little Muse Young People's Theatre
Catherine Beger
Artistic Director
Classes hours and days:
Monday     Baby Muse              9:30-11:00               0-3yrs
                 First Steps Drama   16:00-17:00               3-5yrs
Tuesday     Senior Muse          16:00-18:00               7-11yrs
Wedsday    First Steps Drama  14:00-15:00               3-5yrs
Thursday   Youth Muse           16:00-18:00              11-18yrs
Friday        Junior Muse           15:30-17:00              5-7yrs
Classes prices: Baby Muse:                       5 euros per session
                          3-5yrs:                           30 euro per month
                          5-7yrs/7-11yrs/11-18yrs  50 euro per month
Address: 8, Markou Drakou St. Larnaca 6011
Phone no: +357 96 216 435
Web page: