Who is George Catsi?
AWGIE winner George Catsi is truly a multipotentialite.
Navigating a multiplicity of creative paths, in his relentless pursuit of story George chases down key themes of identity, religion & resilience: unravelling in the process a unified dialogue of transformation, connection and community. An academic, a memoirist, a satirist, an installation artist, an educator, a community activist… George is also a story and a place maker. But he started out as a nurse.
Like most good stories, his starts humbly with few signposts of the greater narrative at play. It was as a nurse that George honed his creative generosity, and his passion for people and the stories they tell.
In gathering bio-medical histories, George discovered the profound impact of genuine enquiry and the extraordinary insights won from people’s living history. He went on to create a TV network for RPA hospital – RPAtv and POWtv, executive produced and visioned TV Health channel that went on to be shortlisted for NSW Premier’s Award.
He was the co-owner and producer of Flickerfest short Film Festival, AWGIE nominated 2018 and 2019 AWGIE winner for educational documentaries he produced wrote and directed for UTS.
George’s core belief is that everyone has a story to tell and that to find inspiration all you have to do is become an observer of your own stories.
As the teller of his own stories George continues to revisit religion and how the prism of belief curates world view. Grappling with his own cultural issues as a Greek boy growing up under the sway of evangelical Baptists, he used this to form the basis of his satirical comedy I Want to Be Slim which saw him be awarded National winner of the Kit Denton Fellowship for courage and excellence in performance writing.
His one man comedic memoir Am I Who I Say I Am? further explores identity through a deeply moving and comedic autopsy on his curiously enigmatic father, and later George, his curiously enigmatic son. This show was presented at the Sydney Comedy Festival and is currently being re-imagined for a 2020 Sydney season.
As a comic/cabaret artist George is co-founder and performer in Gods Cowboys, a wildly satirical trio that mines the rich vein of religion, cowboys…and charisma.
‘I am interested in charisma and how belief is sold and marketed. As a teenage boy I started to question why this particular stream of belief could deem itself as the one and only – when even as a kid I could see its flaws. The flaws were based on human flaws - rejection, ego, hypocrisy. I came to see belief and the different forms in which it is expressed as just manifestations of human psyche – it’s the external build of what goes on inside of us.’
In fact his 28 year development of the charismatic Slim Limits and the evangelical battle of good V evil became the satirical shadow of his PhD that rigorously explored persuasive performance and charisma. As a graduate of the Uni of Melbourne’s Asialink Leadership Program, a lecturer at UTS in Design Thinking, Performance and Communications, he is an invited speaker nationally and internationally covering territory as diverse as the Perceptions of Evil and Human Wickedness, Satire and National Identity and Creativity.
When he’s not busy talking, George is also a passionate creator of place.
Ironically while he admits ‘the dogma of religion and the marketing one truth raises a red flag’, creating a church of community has been one of his lasting achievements. As the President of The Petersham Bowling Club, George led the push that saved a dying club and transformed it into a thriving creative hub of culture, community and connection that went on last year to garner a Green Award nominee for Lifetime Achievement.
The key George believes is in building the architecture of belonging.
‘My vision is not to create a club that people want to come to but somewhere I want to go. It's a creative conversation and you eventually become part of an evolving dialogue.’
Using his talent for performance and dynamic story telling, George has developed workshops for Writing NSW to enhance presentation skills for Writers. He currently co-presents a bespoke Masterclass: Authentic You that focuses on teaching others how to use their personal narrative to drive powerful connection for message delivery. Students across genres thrive from exposure to his enormous positivity and boundless enthusiasm.
George is a collaborator, who mentors others in how to use their narratives as the key to uncovering their creative pathway.
‘Its not what happens to you in your life’ says George. ‘Its how you react that defines you.’
In his spare time he likes to collaborate on art installations with his ceramicist wife, collect and exhibit iconic shop signs and grow orchids.