Act 1/Scene 9

Bryony Kimmings

Wilton’s Music Hall
30th November 2012, 6:30pm, Free

Classique was a performance created for London council estates by the artist Bryony Kimmings. This public Q&A in one of east London’s oldest functioning music halls offers the chance to speak to the artist, gift recipients and panelists from the original project…

Somewhere between a spandex clad Zorro, an embarrassed Robin Hood and a fake Secret Millionaire, Kimmings spent the summer of 2011 on some of the government classified “worst” housing estates in London, giving away money. Having secured £450,000 of corporate donations for do-gooding, Bryony offered cash prizes to people living below the national poverty line in social or sheltered housing. The only stipulation was that the money must be “Life Changing”.

The show followed the stories of these gifts; from the call out right through to the spending process, as well as running ethical debates, local community celebrations and media back lashes peppering the project. The money paid for a lifetime supply of unavailable multiple sclerosis drugs, a kitchen refit, a mother and daughter’s breast implants, an elaborate east end funeral, early retirement, an ice cream van, a bakery refurbishment and a go karting track.

Working in collaboration with an imam, a vicar, an ethicist, a local politician, an anthropologist, a jobseeker and an economist, Bryony’s social experiment explored the ethics of philanthropy, class discrimination, the distribution of the UK’s wealth and the effect of austerity measures on London’s working and benefit classes.

An all singing, all dancing community extravaganza set in a 20’ high 1970’s kitchen, the show featured Kimmings and the 30 gift recipients, 100,000 helium balloons and a series of costumes made entirely from Red Cross donated curtain fabric. Classique was praised by audiences for the its no-nonsense, rose-tint-free exploration of economic prejudice in the UK and sold out its municipal buildings tour to an audience of a majority of non- theatre goers.

Join Kimmings for this chance to ask questions, vent your appreciation/anger or simply to see the fireworks at the end of the talk!

“The new people’s princess”
The Sun

Bryony Kimmings is an award winning Live Artist based between The Junction, Cambridge and the RVT, London. She creates full-length performance works, audio installations, homemade music, 1-2-1 work and short pieces for galleries and cabaret. Bryony also edits the Cambridge based zine Barbara, runs the Solo Artists Group at Soho Theatre and hosts her own online radio show.

Her work is larger than life, haphazard, outrageous, dangerous, often moving but above all very fun. She is inspired by the anomalies and taboos in British culture and loves to air her own dirty laundry to oil conversations on difficult subjects. Previous work has seen her retracing her sexual footsteps to find the owner of an STI, drinking for 7 days straight with a team of scientists to assess alcohol’s effect on creativity and creating a spa with mental health benefits.

“The Pam Ayers of Performance Art”
The Guardian

“Kimmings is to Live Art what Kylie is to pop music”

“One of the funniest, most charming things I’ve seen in an age”
Time Out

“An unabashedly wacky sweetheart with a delightful anything- goes air”
The Times

“Like a madcap Zooey Deschanel, stripped of her nauseating self-awareness”
The Huffington Post

*Photograph by Christa Holka

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