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Unlimited @ Southbank Centre - disability arts online
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Gary Thomas blogs about his first live Bobby Baker experience - Mad Gyms & Kitchens / 5 September 2012

A woman in a white overall appears to be running on 5 legs.

Mad Gyms and Kitchens © Bobby Baker 2011

Zoom in to this image and read text description

I sit waiting in anticipation of seeing my first Bobby Baker Show. A sign led us to meet at the ticket office, the guide telling us they're expecting 50 people. We’re going on a 'story tour' of the Southbank Centre first, but I wonder if this is actually part of the show. My thoughts are unfounded as I overhear staff say 'the artist will take them down’.

The tour wasn’t really a tour but a brief walk down to The Blue Room, via Bobby Bakers drawings that she made in hospital. I remember seeing these when they were first exhibited at the Wellcome Trust in 2009, and was glad to see them again. Only quickly though as we were taken straight to the Blue room.

The show gave us an at times hilarious account of what Bobby does to relax, and wind down following the slow realisation (after talking to numerous people) that
a) She was suffering from stress and
b) she didn’t really relax at all.

Bobby gave her own tips on wellbeing, and poses interesting questions along the way. What is wellbeing anyway? Is it well-being? (with a – in the middle?) She gave us a brief story of her life, how she was admitted into hospital 43 times, and her long list of diagnosis, including personality disorder (she told her doctor she was quite happy with her personality!).

One by one she demonstrated what she does now to relax, including lifting weights (though not often), cooking (she actually cooked live, though only a bit) and other methods, and how she came by them.

Though perhaps the most poignant moment of the show came when she asked us – the audience – what were OUR top tips for wellbeing. And then let us play (one of my own personal top tips!).
The audience certainly obliged and drew their own vision of wellbeing, and some were put up on the wall as tea was served up for those that wanted a cuppa.

Overall a rather inspiring show, and certainly one that I’ll want to remember, if only to ask myself – what do I do about my wellbeing?

The show is running from 4-7 September: 7pm; 9 September: 7pm. Go to http://ticketing.southbankcentre.co.uk/find/festivals-series/unlimited
 

Keywords: borderline personality disorder,cultural olympiad,disability arts festival,festival of the world,unlimited