Coffee with Kate: the Cabaret: the Story

Coffee With Kate
Coffee With Kate

Hello everyone!

Firstly, I must apologise for not fulfilling my literary duties of late. I’ve been in a cave of Coffee with Kate: the Cabaret and nothing unrelated has been able to penetrate my consciousness.

I practically haven’t left the house in weeks. I might have even grown a beard. There could be molluscs growing in the shower and I wouldn’t know. This is really the only thing I can talk about right now (unless you want to read about my stir-fry, which although I’m very proud of, can’t really sustain a whole column), so I thought I’d take the opportunity before the actual show to explain how and why it came back to life.

About a month ago, I was having a sing-a-long with my wonderful friend Mark Chamberlain. He is the show’s Musical Director and the person I ring at 3am the morning of an audition when I can’t find my music, or I can’t remember how the song goes, or I’ve sticky-taped the sheets in reverse order. He rolls out of bed, I rush over in a panic and we solve the problem. In return, I occasionally buy him coffee. It’s a very even friendship.

On this particular occasion I’d called him up at a more appropriate hour, after having one of my fleeting bursts of enthusiasm (this invariably lasts for about 48 hours before I get completely overwhelmed, abandon the idea and go back to sulking in cafes). I’d decided that I was going to take over the world of theatre and had written a 17-page plan. At the top of my list was “get regular gigs in bars.” I put this to Mark. After a brief discussion, we had moved swiftly on from bar gigs and were avidly devising a three act, multi-layered, multi-linguistic musical spectacular. “Hang on a minute” I suddenly stopped. “If I’m going to put on another show, which in this case could take years to write, why don’t I just put on the show I’ve already got. We can make it happen much faster and I’ll be able to take over the theatre world by the end of June!”

I may be paraphrasing slightly, but somehow we decided that the original show was the way to go.

As soon as I’d received confirmation from the venue, my 48 hours of enthusiasm ran out, much like Cinderella with her pumpkin. What was I thinking? How could I possibly rewrite, rehearse and produce the show in three weeks? I would end up embarrassing myself horribly in front of the entire industry. I’d be a laughing stock for all eternity and end up a toothless old bird woman singing Gilbert and Sullivan in Martin Place. I tried to push the date back, but it turned out Mark did things other than listening to my late-night ramblings about semi-quavers and was booked out for months. It had to be on the proposed date or not at all.

So off I went into hibernation with my computer, a coffee thermos and a packet of no-doze. By the end of the first week I’d finished the rewrites. By the end of the second week, I’d become a ferocious Producer. There was only one thing left to do. Be an actor.

The last week has been completely devoted to rehearsing; doing the work that I love and preparing as an actor. It has been a very humbling experience to treat it as a piece of theatre and not as “my story.” Hopefully those who come to see it will find a part that they recognise as theirs. See you on the other side!

Coffee with Kate: the Cabaret! will be at Slide Lounge on Wednesday 2nd May. Check the link for more details.

Kate Walder

Kate is a 2008 graduate of the BA Music Theatre course from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA). During her time at the academy she played the role of Linda in Blood Brothers, The Young Wife in Hello Again, Marguerita in West Side Story and featured in the ensemble of Sweeney Todd and Oklahoma!, for which she was Dance Captain. After moving to London in 2009 Kate played the role of Clio in La Dispute at the Soho Theatre and subsequently at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Since returning to Sydney, Kate has written and performed her one-woman show Coffee with Kate: the Cabaret at the 2010 inaugural Sydney Fringe Festival, a show based on a series of weekly columns she wrote for She is currently co-writing a new show with a fellow WAAPA graduate which will premiere later in the year.

Kate Walder

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