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Friday, March 16, 2012

Binge Britain in the spotlight

Last summer, the performance artist Bryony Kimmings locked herself in a warehouse in Bethnal Green, east London and got drunk for a week. Not for fun, you understand, but in the name of art: her aim was to explore the links between intoxication and creativity, or to find out whether she was a better artist when she was drunk.

The conclusions reached during her binge make up her theatre piece, 7 Day Drunk. In the show, "created drunk, performed sober", Kimmings relives her experiment in front of an audience, one of whom is handed a pint of vodka and cranberry juice and asked to drink the same amount while watching it as she did while creating it.

Kimmings is not the only performer bringing bar-room culture into the theatre. The Paper Birds trawled the pubs and clubs of London and Leeds to find the raw material for their latest show, Thirsty. They set up a hotline, printed up business cards with the words "Are you drunk? Call this number" and used the voicemails they received as the inspiration for their play about young women and binge drinking, performed to a shouty soundtrack of karaoke classics on a set made out of toilet cubicles. > > > > Read More