Theatrescience, a United Kingdom (UK)-based theatre company dedicated to using theatre as a means of engaging the public in a debate on current scientific issues, developed an initiative revolving aro
Intended to be entertaining and engaging for the audience, these plays are based on the strategy of connecting the arts and sciences. This idea is symbolised by the partnerships between scientific advisors and playwrights upon which this initiative was built. In this case, Simon Turley, the writer of "State of Nature", worked closely with Dr. Anthony Pinching of the Peninsula Medical School to portray living with dementia as true to life as possible. The goal was that this personal partnership would be reflected in the marriage of drama and science in the play itself.
At the heart of the productions - "State of Nature" and the "pocket-sized" plays - lies the idea of transforming scientific debate into a human story. The plays are designed to open up biomedical issues - from loss of memory (dementia) to manic-depression to the comic alternative reality of DNA-matchmaking - to greater public engagement and redefining them as matters of the heart as well as the head. All of the pieces explore the societal implications of biomedical science, and seek to engage the public in debates surrounding the nature of genetics and the relationship between the arts and sciences.
In addition, Theatrescience arranges for after-show discussions of the play in order to talk about the issues brought up in the work.
Theatrescience is dedicated to using theatre as a means of engaging the public in a debate on current scientific issues. According to the theatre company, "[d]iscussion and interaction between scientists, artists, and the public is fundamental to our artistic development process. Our projects involve workshops, debates, and mutual feedback between all involved. As well as providing initial stimulus and debate, scientists attend rehearsals and workshops and provide feedback on the work as it develops, to ensure that all the work we produce is scientifically accurate....Post-show discussions, which enable audiences to question both scientists and theatre practitioners directly, are also integral to the way we work. These inspire audiences to start exploring science for themselves, as well as encouraging participants and scientists to reflect upon their own work."
The project has been funded by The Wellcome Trust and the Arts Council England.
October 8 press release, "Drama in the Biome: Theatre Comes to Eden",
October 13 2010; emails from Eluned Gramich to The Communication
Initiative on October 15 2010 and November 8 2010; and Theatrescience at The Eden Project Facebook page, November 8 2010.