Bobby Baker live production made in collaboration with Polona Boloh Brown
Original performance: Artist’s own home, Holloway, north London. Toured internationally thereafter (see below)
Kitchen Show took place exclusively in working kitchens, beginning with Bobby Baker’s own. Baker decided to open her kitchen to the public to display and perform one dozen routine kitchen actions. These included opening a new tub of margarine to see its unsullied perfection and throwing a ripe pear against a distant wall in moments of extreme rage. Each action was accompanied by a story and a rationale for its importance and was then ‘marked’ on Baker’s body. By revealing and contemplating these ritualistic and often idiosyncratic behaviours, Baker presented a provocation for her audience to consider the lack of social transformation in women’s lives. Discussing the show in an interview for the Independent she observed: ‘It makes you think about why you do things – out of habit, upbringing, indoctrination. It's not a simple thing. Women often find it [Kitchen Show] very sad. So do young men, thinking of their mums. Some cry – which pleases me. I feel deeply harrowed by a lot of it myself.’
Kitchen Show subsequently toured extensively, with Baker opening other domestic spaces to the public, going to festivals and venues across the UK and internationally in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Slovenia, Switzerland, USA.
Versions of the show were also produced in the form of a book and film – Baker intending to spread knowledge of her actions as widely as possible. The book sold out, but the film, directed by Carole Lamond, exists as the public manifestation of this work of art.
Co-director: Polona Baloh Brown
Film director: Carole Lamond
Book design: Lewis Nicholson
Commissioners: Judith Knight (Artsadmin) Rose Fenton and Lucy Neal (London International Festival of Theatre)
Kitchen Show is the first work in the ‘Daily Life Series’, which comprises five performances that span the decade between 1991 to 2001. Other works include: How to Shop (1993), Take a Peek! (1995), Grown-up School (1999), and Box Story (2001).