A new play critiquing the university experience is set to run at the Northcott theatre on Friday 24 January.
Sellout, written by David Lane, examines “universities mutating in a capitalist world” with 48 year-old disillusioned lecturer Frank at its centre.
The play traces Frank’s earnest endeavours to “push” students to achieve their best against the heads of department who “time [their] student allocations against the minute”.
In an interview with Exeposé Arts, Lane, a teacher of eight years, described “Sellout” as “all the things you wanted to know about your lecturer’s workplace and its critical impact on you – and some that you probably didn’t.”
Inspired by his own student’s feelings about their course, and his colleagues’ experience of “a managerial culture choking their ability to engage fully with scholarly endeavours”, Lane decided to structure his research-based piece for the Hall for Cornwall theatre around these themes. The resulting piece was branded by Times Higher Education as “an amusingly bleak view of university life”.
Though the play only amalgamates “about 10% of [his] own experience and 90% everybody else’s”, as a 2001 Exeter graduate himself, some of the more autobiographical elements will no doubt ring true for Exeter students and lecturers alike, as Lane himself graduated from the university’s Drama Department in 2001.
Pertinently for Lane, the play will be performed at the Northcott Theatre, which he describes as “really exciting”.
He also feels the setting to be relevant owing to Andrew Sparkes’ recent paper which “kicked off a series of accusations of a pressure-cooker working culture at Exeter University”.
This Friday’s performance will take the form of a one-off reading in order that “Sellout” can prove its potential to become a fully-fledged production.
Tickets can be purchased here on the Exeter Northcott Theatre website.
View the full interview with Sellout’s playwright, David Lane, here.
Fiona Potigny, News Team