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Written by Nicola Baldwin

An Academic, a Cleaner, a Student walk into a university.  There is no easy way out.

What does ‘zero waste’ mean, applied to people? What use are ‘sustainable’ products if their producers are disposable? How do we discuss Waste without questioning values? Why do we find it easier to talk about Waste than global inequality that drives it?

This is the story of one night… the night before the launch of LOU’s prize-winning green department building, and first shift back at work for ROSA after her union’s strike; meanwhile student JESS races against time in the 24 hour library before her café job.

Lou supports the cleaners’ strike, so to avoid crossing picket lines, has sneaked into her office overnight. Rosa has cleaned Lou’s office for three years, but they have never met. Jess is desperate for a tutorial. When Extinction Rebellion occupy the building, the three women are trapped inside.  As they attempt escape through sub-basement ducts, nothing is as they imagined. The building becomes an unpredictable border-zone. Can they rely on each other?

…This is also the story of one year… 2020, in which playwright Nicola Baldwin joins UCL Urban Lab to write a play about Waste, and Waste spills out from academic research in ever larger waves; the IWGB industrial action at UCL against outsourcing; UCU strikes; initial impact on international colleagues and subsequent worldwide pandemic lockdown from COVID19… THE PLAY fights to make sense of the drama.

WASTELAND had a first read-through on 16 July 2020, via zoom, with:

Rebecca Crankshaw as LOU 

Jimena Larraguivel as ROSA

Tara Kearney as JESS

Shreya Patel as THE PLAY

Watch the recording of the first (Zoom-adapted draft), with script onscreen.

With thanks to Dr Pushpa Arabindoo, Jordan Rowe, Stella Bruzzi, Laura Mackenzie, Catherine Stokes, Albert Brenchat Aguilar, Jordi Lopez and IWGB members; UCL Institute of Advanced Studies and UCL Urban Lab; Becky Simon, Helen Sheals and Peter Clements.

Playwright and former UCL English alumna, Nicola Baldwin, is UCL Creative Fellow at UCL Urban Lab 2019-2020. Based jointly in the Urban Laboratory and UCL Institute of Advanced Studies, exploring their joint research theme of Waste. She is working with Dr Pushpa Arabindoo on the project City Dionysia: Narrating Wasteland in Urban Life.

UCL Creative Fellowships is a pilot programme to encourage dialogue, collaboration and experimentation between researchers, students, and creative practitioners, and provide space for activities that stretch the relationships between research, learning and creative practice in new directions.

Creative Fellows will work towards the development of an original piece of work which draws directly on their interactions with researchers and students.

4. IWGB protest UCL October.jpg
Group 3 at Bernard Katz Building.jpg
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