So, what is it about? Wasteland is an ambitious work of cultural commentary, marking 25 years since the closure of Britain’s last coal pit and linking the death of the coal industry to the birth of a specific type of counterculture, the illegal ‘rave’ scene, where derelict warehouses and abandoned work spaces became home for a new-found community of music and dance.
Wasteland’s narrative looks at how two generations coped in the 1980s and early 90s era of radical upheaval, focussing on a miner, now thrown on the scrapheap, and his son.
It does so by bringing together the excellent dancers of the Gary Clark Company, community male singers, brass musicians, and archive footage, set to a powerful rave soundscore and artwork by Jimmy Cauty of The KLF.
Comfortable viewing it isn’t, nor is it meant to be; Wasteland is, rather, a visceral and simultaneously exhilarating dance-theatre treatment of a crucial time in the history of modern Britain, very much in the mould of Gary Clarke’s work.
Widely seen as one of the UK’s leading contemporary dance artists, multi-award winning Gary Clarke is a man of many talents, working as a choreographer, director, performer and teacher.
Clarke was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, right in the middle of Britain’s coal-mining region. Unsurprisingly, Wasteland’s predecessor was the much acclaimed COAL (2016), which looked at the slow death of the coal industry and the communities that depended on it.
Clarke’s work, however, goes well beyond this topic: to give just two examples, he provided the choreography for Opera North’s touring production of Hansel and Gretel; and was the director and choreographer of Akademi’s The Troth, an entrancing work about the South Asian soldiers who fought alongside the British in World War I, to which Culture Whisper awarded a five star rating.
Age Guidance: 14+
|What||Gary Clarke Company, Wasteland, The Place|
|Where||The Place, 17 Duke's Road, London, WC1H 9PY | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Euston (underground)|
02 Oct 19 – 10 Oct 19, 19:30 No performance 6/7 Oct Dur.: 85 mins no interval
|Price||£20 (concessions £13)|
|Website||Click here to book|