Jenny Hunt and Holly Darton present
Hunt & Darton Café
Winner: Three Weeks Editor Award 2012
Award winning Pop-up cafe– which isn’t just arty, it is ART.
A fully functioning Café that blends art with the everyday, Hunt & Darton Cafe is a social and artistic hub where spontaneity and performance meet great food and drink.
Jenny Hunt and Holly Darton expose the inner workings of their business by presenting everything as art-from public display of their bank balance to the lovingly handpicked charity shop crockery.
Hunt & Darton Cafe encourages playful participation and meaningful social encounters. It can operate as an offsite micro-venue or temporarily transform and existing space in a gallery, theater, public building or outdoors under canvas. Whether seeking surprising art or a relaxing place to spend the afternoon, customers can expect a welcoming atmosphere and food served with a twist. This is an exciting, innovative and entrepreneurial project unveiling and celebrating the ‘Cafe’ as an iconic and socially important hub for creative productivity and conversation.
The Cafe takes over empty shops, often working with council initiatives and art centres to benefit and increase artistic activity within the area. The alternative service from Hunt & Darton themselves (often wearing their iconic pineapple outfits and hats) comprises deadpan style and theme days such as ‘you-do-it-day’ where customers are encouraged to serve each other. Hunt & Darton also commission local artists to wait on the tables and create unique performances as they serve. Previous guest waiters have included Richard DeDomenici delivering his style of silver service, bronze service where everything’s a little bit crap, Brian Lobel, who embraced everything promised by American hospitality and Odd Comic, a duo of ‘trainee customer service providers’ who offered delights such as a tap dance with tap water.
‘In a Fringe swimming with comedians, Shakespeare adaptations, improv comedy and BBC recordings, Hunt & Darton Cafe made its mark as something truly alternative.’ Three Weeks presenting the Editors awards 2012
‘A living, breathing, baking art project’ Cambridgeshire Journal
‘A complete work of art in itself’ Cambridge News April 2012
‘Guaranteed to have you reaching for your loyalty card’ Cambridge Secrets
‘A uniquely delicious art installation’ Varsity
I was amazed how quickly the Hunt and Darton Cafe took-off in Cambridge. It wasn¹t just the coffee and lunch that people kept coming back for the art hit the mark and was the star attraction. Working with the cafe was a treat and it really helped us extend the reach of our venue and welcome new audiences to our programme. Daniel Brine Cambridge Junction
The Project was originally presented in an empty shop in Cambridge City Centre (April 2012) by Live Art Collective East in collaboration with Cambridge City Council, Changing Spaces and The Junction. Further support came from Escalator Live art and the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Hunt & Darton Cafe then traveled up to Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival in 2012, with the support of Escalator East to Edinburgh, transforming 17-21 St Mary’s Street into the fringe festival hub. Fresh from this success, H&D were asked to take over 118 on Lower Clapton Road, Hackney in Spring 2013. The Cafe has also ‘popped up’ at various festival’s including Latitude under a gazebo, Sampled and Flint Festival, transforming existing spaces and cafes for duration’s spanning 1- day to 4 weeks Tate Britain, Lakeside Theatre, Essex University, BAC, Colchester Arts Centre, Freud Museum, FLINT festival and Cambridge Junction. This project exists to meld and compliment whatever environment it encounters. It truly is a unique and memorable experience.
THE CREATIVE TEAM
Hunt & Darton are a Live Art Collaboration between Jenny Hunt and Holly Darton. They have both practiced Art since graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2003 and been Working together for 7 years. Approaching Live Art from a Fine Art background we work across
mediums with a sculptural approach to performance, choreographing words and movement in a sensory way and setting up alternative spaces – often creating installations to perform within. Our work derives from our shared celebrations and anxieties surrounding life choices particularly as women, in Britain, now. Our work has been described as deadpan and absurd, often collapsing into humour. We have a persistent fetish within our practice to consistently re-assess our relationship with our audience, embracing awkward moments, risk taking and constantly trying to close the gap between performer and viewer opting for a raw, underdone, conversational aesthetic.