We chat with Catherine Alcorn about The Reservoir Room!

Catherine Alcorn is one of Australia’s most formidable entertainers.

Catherine Alcorn

She has headlined festivals, MC’d for some of the world’s biggest brands, written and performed cabarets, artistically directed, won awards, and just been an all-round terrific person. Now, her next project is The Reservoir Room, a completely virtual venue based out of Sydney’s Paddington Town Hall.

The Reservoir Room is yet another way our incredible Arts industry have adapted to life amidst COVID. The venue provides an impressive lineup of Australian talent on your Friday and Saturday nights, streamed right to your smart device, no matter where you are in the country (or the world!).

Tickets will be available from June 1st on a ‘pay what you feel’ basis, starting at just $5. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to The Actors’ Benevolent Fund and Support Act, charities that are both assisting live performing artists and creatives during this crisis.

With the venue’s debut performance happening in just under a week, I had a chat with Catherine about what audiences can expect from this exciting innovation.

How did you come up with the idea for The Reservoir Room?

When all of this went down in late February, I approached Cobbstar Productions owner Brian Cobb, suggesting he use his television studio and production house (formerly Metro Screen) to live-stream performances. It started out that we’d shoot with a couple of iPhones and has evolved rapidly into a full-blown series and production with legendary TV director Ted Robinson at the helm.

Ben Mingay is just one of the talents performing during the venue’s opening weekend

What has been the most challenging part of transitioning to a digital space?

So many things. From a live performers perspective it’s that we are now performing to camera barrels and not eyeballs! As a live performance artist, you are used to the energy and response of a live audience. There’s nothing quite like it.

And what is the most exciting part?

The thrill of the digital performance challenge! My background is in live theatre and cabaret which rely heavily on audience participation, so it’ll be interesting to see how that feels and how I cope!

Do you think virtual venues will continue to run post-COVID?

The Reservoir Room certainly will. Even when the world reopens and we can invite audiences into the venue physically, we will continue to live stream our performances. We don’t want to cut the rest of the world off!

What can audiences expect from The Reservoir Room?

A beautifully eclectic mix of artists, musicians and shows. Our opening weekend is HUGE. So is our second and third…but more on that later. On Friday June 5, we launch our brand new variety show FRIDAY NIGHT LIVE, hosted by Rodger Corser and me. #FNL will be packed full of music, performances, artist interviews and surprises! The Saturday night program is dedicated to cabaret and live music. On Saturday June 6 we have film & television star Tim Draxl performing his show The Chet Baker Journey for our cabaret hour at 7.30pm. Headlining the first live music slot at 9.30pm will be Australian rock royalty, Phil Jamieson from Grinspoon. The Res is for all of us. We want it to be known as a venue and platform that supports established and emerging artists. We are essentially our own network but with no ratings and no rules!

The Reservoir Room opens its ‘doors’ on Friday 5 June, 2020.

For more information, visit www.reservoirroom.com

Gabi Bergman

Gabi Bergman is a Melbourne-based performer and educator. She holds a Double Arts degree in Theatre Studies and Film/Screen Studies and a Master of Teaching (Secondary Education). Gabi has always been an avid lover of theatre, specifically musicals, and spends way too much money than she’d like to admit on tickets. Her most prized possession is her crate of theatre programs.

Gabi Bergman

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