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Five to nine - A taste for the Big Apple

by Rebecca Gill

Catherine CampbellWhen Catherine Campbell isnít lecturing about the implications of international communication, you may find her waving a top hat or singing about the perils of living the single life. For while she teaches in the performing arts department and Unaipon School by day, Campbell is a cabaret artist by night.

"When I was growing up I desperately wanted to be on Young Talent Time, or something scholarly, like an academic, or a medical researcher. But I decided that the former wasnít very realistic, and so I pursued a career in academia," Campbell said.

But on her way to becoming a person with lots of letters at the end of her name, Campbell landed a place in one of the most lively and glamorous industries around.

Sheís obviously no slouch, having recently been invited to participate in the prestigious Yale University Cabaret Conference in the United States, which culminates in a showcase performance in the Big Apple.

This trip will be squeezed in between this yearís winter school and the summer school, where Campbell will teach Effective Communication.

"In New York you not only make fantastic contacts but you get a feeling for where the standard of your work fits in the larger picture."

This will be Campbellís second trip to New York, with a previous trip being made for a cabaret/music theatre piece written with Adelaideís Cabaret Festival creator Frank Ford.

In addition to her many live appearances (she also appeared in the State Opera of South Australia production Is there a Tenor in the House?) and her work at UniSA, Campbell also teaches singing to young children and performance art to young adults.

And as if this wasnít enough to keep her on her toes, she will also perform in the sixth annual Adelaide Cabaret Festival before jetting off to New York. The festival, which runs from June 9 to 24, will see 40,000 people descend upon Adelaide to see hundreds of Australian and international artists.

Festival-goers can catch Campbell in black comedy Secret Love, and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun ("a cabaret version of Bridget Jonesís Diary", in which she performs with hit cabaret comedy trio Gentlemen Prefer Curves).

And although clearly always up for a good challenge, Campbell is a little wary about undertaking her "ultimate" professional challenge.

"It seems that everyone I work with at the University is trying to convince me to finish my PhD. Iím still undecided at the moment," said Campbell who, for all her theatrical accomplishments, still loves taking centre stage in a UniSA lecture theatre.