Blog: Hayley Wareham on Cathy

Posted on: 31 July 2017

Written by: Charlie Marshall

Cathy cast member Hayley Wareham talks about returning to the show following its hit tour for its Edinburgh Festival Fringe run and explains why it’s such an important show to be a part of.

Hayley Wareham in CathyI’m at peak excitement! To be going up to the Edinburgh Festival with Cathy is a real privilege as it’s a show that I care deeply about. Having toured for five months with it we’re tight as a team and the play has grown and been shaped by the people we’ve met on tour who’ve been generous enough to share their experiences with us – from prisoners facing homelessness upon release to single parents struggling with their increasing rents to young people sofa surfing or living in unstable temporary accommodation – you feel a huge responsibility to tell this story with the honesty and truth it deserves and I’m really excited about bringing it to a Fringe audience.

We were concerned before embarking on the tour that Cathy, set in Tower Hamlets, could be perceived as a London centric story – with spirally rent costs, a stagnant building industry and huge increase in living costs seemingly exclusively a London issue. We were wrong. People are being pushed to breaking point across the country with the average household now only one month’s pay away from homelessness and lack of affordable housing a nationwide problem.

The housing crisis in London is also having a direct impact on housing in other cities like Luton, where we played. Councils like Tower Hamlets with depleted housing stocks just cannot meet the demands of their borough and are spending millions of pounds a year placing their residents in emergency and temporary accommodation outside of London.

The direct impact of being moved to out of your borough and into a new city – jeopardising jobs, schooling and support networks – is keenly felt by the Londoners being uprooted but this new trend is also having devastating consequence for the locals of the cities they’re moved to. Residents of Luton stated that many of them can no longer afford to rent in their hometown, their community, because of huge hikes in rent and increased demand on properties caused by the new influx of Londoners.

The current housing crisis is at breaking point and this government is refusing to address it; councils need to be allowed to borrow money to build new housing, rent caps must be introduced alongside secure long-term tenancies. Safe housing is a fundamental human right and, as we see in Cathy, when your home is taken away from you, the repercussions are devastatingly life-changing.

Edinburgh Fringe feels the perfect next step for Cathy with a huge opportunity for it to be seen and provoke discussions in a safe space where constructive talks can take place and ideas can be shared for positive change.

I feel incredibly lucky to be a part of Cathy being a part of the legendary Fringe in its 70th Anniversary!

This is an extended answer from a Q&A Hayley did for Culture By Night.

Cathy plays at Edinburgh’s Pleasance Dome from 2 to 26 August. Book tickets now here.


With thanks to

Arts Council England Lottery funded