Working over a week with baker Mike Knowlden

This project is built on the practice of bread making. The ritual of yeast-based bread, from the mixing of ingredients, to kneading, leaving to rise, knocking back and proving, through to baking and eating will provide both the stepping off point for gathering material, and the structure of the performance itself.

The physical commitment to creating something tangible brings a particular kind of engagement, and people are able to talk and reflect while making. Bread making involves activity and resting, sounds and quietness, gentle and robust activity, and a material that can be shaped in a huge variety of ways. Previous work with food; (Eat London for LIFT and The Edible Garden for Phakama) have made me aware of the centrality of bread in people’s lives and memories.

We’ll be working with young and older people at Ovalhouse in South London.  They will initially work with Mike to learn to make bread, well enough to pass the skills on to others. Throughout this process we would collect stories and experiences, using audio and photographic images. The group will actively develop ways of encouraging and identifying stories once they become teachers of bread making.

The group would then work on developing some of the material to scaffold a live, immersive performance that would follow the real time of the bread making, finishing with the sharing of the bread made with the audience, and including opportunities for the audience to add their own voices. The audience would gather around the same table, as the bread makers, and be part of the community of makers, tellers and consumers.