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E3 Catherine Coldstream: Cloistered

The Bath Festival 2024

The Guildhall

In Cloistered, Catherine Coldstream tells of the 12 years she spent as a contemplative nun in a strictly enclosed community in the 1990s. Her memoir paints a picture of life in a traditional Carmelite monastery in the Northumberland countryside, with all the beauty and mystery of a world devoted to prayer and work. But all is not as it seems behind the Priory’s closed doors. Power struggles erupt, and the hothouse atmosphere turns to conflict. Catherine comes to realise that divine authority is mediated through flawed and all-too-human channels. Catherine reveals to filmmaker Marion Milne how and why she came to write her memoir, why it feels significant, and of the challenges she encountered along the way.

Catherine Coldstream grew up in London and converted to Catholicism in her early twenties. She was a Carmelite nun for 12 years. After leaving the monastery she took an undergraduate degree as a mature student, at the University of Oxford, and taught theology, philosophy and ethics for ten years. She has never stopped thinking about her life as a nun and wrote about it as a way of understanding the experiences that shaped her.

Marion Milne is an Emmy nominated director and award-winning documentary filmmaker.

Credits include 1000 Years A Slave for the Smithsonian with David Harewood and David Olusoga;  the Royal Television Society nominated Britain’s Traitor King with Andrew Lownie which finally confirmed - through unseen documents - how the Duke of Windsor was, as has been long suspected, a Nazi collaborator; the acclaimed Looking For series for BBC One with Dame Darcey Bussell which explored the life stories of Audrey Hepburn,  Dame Margot Fonteyn and Fred Astaire; and If I Don’t Come Home, Letters From D-Day with Sam West for ITV which was described by the  Daily Mail as   ‘an intensely emotional slice of social history…utterly arresting’.

Marion Milne lives in Bath with her husband and - when not travelling the world on her latest documentary project - has raised her family here. 



E3 Catherine Coldstream: Cloistered