Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)



26 March 2020, 7:00 pm–9:30 pm


Unfortunately, due to the current travel restrictions, this event had to be postponed - new date tba. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. A short play by Nicola Baldwin and directed by Saskia Marland

Event Information

Open to







Institute of Advanced Studies


IAS Forum
Ground floor, South Wing, UCL
United Kingdom

Unfortunately, due to the current travel restrictions, this event had to be postponed - new date tba. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Innocente-Catherine Rougé, elderly Duchess of Elbeuf, lived through the French Revolution and Terror in a grand house overlooking the guillotine. As other aristocrats were arrested, executed, or fled Paris, the Duchess wrote a stream of letters about her life in the city, which inform Witnessing Terror exhibition at UCL Art Museum.

This short play by UCL Creative Fellow Nicola Baldwin speculates on why the Duchess wrote her mysterious letters, and how they – and she – miraculously survived. Set at the height of the Terror in 1793, we enter Hotel d’Elbeuf to hear the indomitable Duchess’ tips for surviving Revolution. Until her servants Elisabeth and Sylvie stage rebellions of their own.

The play lasts 20 minutes and is part of Revolutionary Encounters Late, an evening of Revolutionary-themed theatre, art and dancing.


  • DUCHESSE D’ELBEUF – Nicola Sanderson
  • ELISABETH-HELENE – Harriet Leitch
  • SYLVIE-LOUISE – Stephanie Houtman
  • HISTORICAL ADVISER – Professor Colin Jones
  • RESEARCH ASSOCIATE – Dr Simon Macdonald
  • PRODUCER (ART MUSEUM) – Helen Pike
  • CURATOR (WITNESSING TERROR) – Dr Andrea Fredericksen


19.00; 19.30; 20.00; 20.40; 21.10. Other events to run continuously during the evening.

About Nicola Baldwin

Playwright and UCL Creative Fellow Nicola Baldwin has written Duchess as part of her year-long residency with UCL Urban Laboratory and Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS); ‘The City Dionysia’ explores how twenty-first century theatre can create new audiences for academic research, with a particular focus on themes of Waste, value and social inequality. UCL Creative Fellowships is a pilot programme supported by the Joint Faculty Office and the IAS established by Prof Stella Bruzzi, Dean of Arts & Humanities.

About Revolutionary Encounters

In this UCL Culture Late we’ll be unpacking the theme of French revolution, inspired by our latest Art Museum exhibition Witnessing Terror, which tells the story of the period known as ‘the Terror’ (1792-94) when violence and public executions were rife. Join us for an evening of revolutionary encounters with artists and academics through performance, activities, film screenings and dance. 

About the Duchess d’Elbeuf

The Duchess’ letters were discovered in the Paris police archives by Professor Colin Jones of QMUL. You can find out more about the Duchess D’Elbeuf and Professor Colin Jones and Dr Simon Macdonald’s project to translate her letters on the Revolutionary Duchess website.