UCL Urban Laboratory


Playwright Nicola Baldwin appointed UCL Creative Fellow

31 July 2019

Dramatist and director Nicola Baldwin has been appointed to UCL as a Creative Fellow for the 2019-20 academic year

Nicola Baldwin, credit Rabbit Hole Photography

UCL Creative Fellowships is a new programme that aims 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.

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

Nicola Baldwin, a former UCL English alumna, will be based jointly in the UCL Urban Laboratory and UCL Institute of Advanced Studies, working with Dr Pushpa Arabindoo on the project City Dionysia: Narrating Wasteland in Urban Life.

Invoking the ancient Greek practice of CITY DIONYSIA where plays fuelled public debate, Baldwin will explore how twenty-first century theatre can create new audiences for academic research, promoting creative inquiry into urban problems.

Using as a testbed Pushpa’s priority area of ‘Wasteland’ at UCL Urban Laboratory and the collaborative annual theme of ‘Waste’ at the IAS and Urban Lab, Nicola will consider how these concerns of contemporary urban life might be apprehended, and how its socio-material aspects performed.

During the Creative Fellowship, Nicola will develop a new play, tentatively titled Wasteland, challenging her own creative technique through collaboration with students on the MSc Urban Studies programme and wider UCL community, and by drawing on Pushpa’s unique pedagogical insights, combining theory and practice to rethink her approach to theatre as a curatorial exercise. Exploring political practices of urban activism as forms of theatricality that can display, dramatise, and more than symbolically address a theme, Nicola will focus on creating an urban performativity that, through an interactive dramaturgical approach, offers new ideas about the role of theatre in society, and representation of WASTELAND as a liminal space.

UCL Urban Laboratory will present a staged reading of Baldwin’s new play We The Young Strong at the Bloomsbury Theatre on Thursday 24 October.

Image credit: Rabbit Hole Photography