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Katy Baird is an artist, curator and producer of Live Art based in Hastings. She has received commissions from Battersea Arts Centre, Wellcome Trust, The Yard Theatre, Camden People’s Theatre and Duckie amongst others. Since 2016 she has been artist in residence at queer club night Knickerbocker. Katy Baird will present the London premiere of her latest work, “Get Off“, at Battersea Arts Centre from 8 to 25 May 2024. QX has been celebrating Lesbian Visibility Week, and we had a chat with Katy about her work and “Get Off”.

What has been the motivation behind “Get Off”?

Sometimes, I feel like my life is like a train hurtling forward at 90 miles an hour, and I just don’t know how to pull the brakes and get off from the endless cycle of work, eat, drink, repeat. I genuinely have no idea if I am even driving the train anymore. For decades all that mattered in my life was going out. The towering speakers, the sweat, the bodies, the staying up all night, and that fleeting moment when you are high, where you understand that we are all made up of tiny electrons circling around protons and neutrons. I guess I just wanted to stop and reflect on these beautiful moments and think about where they are for me now I am almost 50.

Get Off - Katy Baird (JMA photography, image supplied)
Get Off – Katy Baird (JMA photography, image supplied)

 What can the audience expect at your show? 

“Get Off” explores the moments in life that we rarely think about because so many of us are busy portraying how amazing everything is online. It is definitely not a sad show though; it’s funny, ridiculous, and totally excessive in all ways – a bit like me! 

Katy Baird at Battersea Arts Centre in London.
Click image for tickets

It is also unapologetically queer and feminist. It’s a punch in the gut and a hug at the same time; it’s a fat line of Ket and a spinach smoothie; it’s a trembling wall of sound and a bedtime story. It celebrates the underground and the mainstream – it’s totally contradictory and real, and it will make you feel alive! It’s actually quite hard to explain in words, so I think you just need to come and experience it to understand what I am talking about.

Your work is quite radical and challenging. How do you develop a relationship with the audience? 

The audience is the reason why I do what I do, so I think about our relationship a lot throughout the making process. Often in my work, there are two audiences – those who have lived experience of what I am talking about and those who are just hearing about this life in person for the first time. I really try to make sure that both audiences have something for them. A big driver for me is seeing lives like mine unapologetically represented on stage: the messiness and joy of queer life – in all its glory.

Get Off - Katy Baird (JMA photography, image supplied)
Get Off – Katy Baird (JMA photography, image supplied)

You’ve performed at squats, and squatting is a protest action in line with themes in your work. What are your thoughts on the recent squatting of Gordon Ramsay’s pub in central London? 

I think it’s bloody great! Unfortunately, due to law changes, squatting is pretty much illegal now, and I think this has genuinely had a devastating impact on culture in the UK. It’s a cliché now to say that I wouldn’t be an artist if I wasn’t able to squat and be on the dole when I was younger, but it’s so true. The fact that young people now have to work two jobs just to be able to live has stopped so many creative stuff happening – making music, club nights, gigs, theatre, cabaret, exhibitions – the list goes on because it’s so hard to do any of this in a cost of living crisis, particularly if you don’t come from money.

Katy Baird performs feminist queer production of Get Off at Battersea Arts Centre in London.
Get Off – Katy Baird (JMA photography, image supplied)

What do you hope the audience will take away from watching “Get Off”? 

This is difficult to answer because it depends on the person – Some people may feel shocked, some may see themselves, I hope that some of my audience will imagine what it might be like to stop their own train and think about the things in life that makes them feel most alive.

Tickets for Get Off are available here: https://bac.org.uk/whats-on/get-off/

Katy Baird in Get Off runs from 8 – 25 May at Battersea Arts Centre, Battersea Arts Centre, Lavender Hill, London SW11 5TN, United Kingdom.

 

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