What is Theatrescience?
Theatrescience productions engage new audiences with scientific thinking and bring informed scientific debate into theatrical spaces, as well as encouraging scientists to develop their skills in communicating with those outside their own fields.
Discussion 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.
This innovative process results in high-quality new theatrical productions based around biomedical science.
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.
To ensure that we achieve our aims, all of our work has been independently evaluated. It has been proven to be successful at engaging participants and audiences with biomedical science issues.
Evaluation reports, as well as documentation of productions, discussions, and workshops, are available on our website.
We are always interested in hearing from new potential collaborators and in forming new and inspirational new partnerships.
Theatrescience’s first project was Imagining the Future (2002-3), which brought together leading playwrights with several research scientists and clinicians for a week-long workshop at the Theatre Royal Plymouth’s brand new TR2 building. The primary aim of this week was to break down the barriers between scientists and playwrights and so enable them to ‘imagine the future’ together.
Three new stage plays were created as a result of this workshop, as well as one new radio play, later broadcast on BBC Radio 4. One of the playwrights at the workshop, Simon Turley, developed the play ‘Seeing Without Light’ (pictured), working with Professor Anthony Pinching from the Peninsula Medical School. Subsequently Simon has become the Theatrescience resident writer and Tony the ongoing scientific advisor.
Next was the Newbury Science/Drama Festival, involving six schools at the Corn Exchange Theatre. This was followed by the Plymouth Science Drama Festival (2003), for which we worked with four schools at The Drum Theatre in Plymouth, UK.
Drawing on our experience at these festivals, we created The Drama of Science programme, which was rolled out nationally to schools and Science Centres across the UK in 2004. Please visit our Projects pages to see what’s happened since!
Jeff Teare, Co-Director
Jeff has over 35 years of major theatre credits to his name, ranging from Associate Directorships with The Young Vic and the Theatre Royal Stratford East (1986-95) in London through to a wide variety of productions throughout the UK, from puppet shows for the under fives to Shakespeare and Chekov. He is a past chair of the British Equity Directors Committee and an advisor to ACGB and London Arts. He has been involved with over 150 school science/drama projects and many workshops, readings and professional productions with Theatrescience. Jeff also writes for the stage and makes films. He’s widely acknowledged as a pioneer in using education and theatre to challenge and dismantle the arts/science divide. Jeff is an Honorary Fellow of the University of Plymouth.
Rebecca Gould, Co-Director
Rebecca Gould is a theatre director and producer whose work currently includes: Education Associate at the Royal Shakespeare Company; a new project about Welsh Artist and writer Brenda Chamberlain for National Theatre Wales; Producer (Tinderbox Consultants Ltd ‘Theatrescience Project’) ‘Not My Fault’ three new site specific plays at the Eden Project; Associate Artist Jagriti Theatre, Bangalore. Previously her work has included Curator Wellcome Trust’s International Public Engagement Conference, Bangalore, Associate Director Theatre Royal Plymouth (2002 -2007); Director, Imagining the Future I, II & III (TCL); Producer ‘Speechless’ tour for British Council and Apples & Snakes; Producer and Director for the National Theatre’s Education Department; Director of the Education Company for Michael Bogdanov’s English Shakespeare Company and Associate Director Made in Wales Stage Company, Cardiff. Her work has a strong international dimension: she has produced and directed productions and festivals in London, Cardiff, Hong Kong, Kolkata, Uganda, Bangalore and Mumbai, India and in Sekondi Takoradi, Ghana. She has previously run a young directors’ exchange between the UK and India with the British Council, and created two performance exchange programmes between young people in Plymouth and Ghana. She was the recipient of an Arts Council Directing Bursary.
Simon Turley, Writer
Simon is a playwright and Head of Creative Arts at Ridgeway School, Plymouth, UK. He has been Theatrescience’s lead writer for five years, plays including ‘Seeing Without Light’ (2005) and ‘Something Somatic’ (2007), and is currently working on the new Eden Project partnership, ‘Not My Fault’ (2009 ongoing). He has also written for BBC television, and his plays have been published by Parthian Books.
Professor Anthony J. Pinching, Scientific Adviser
Professor Pinching is Associate Dean for Cornwall, Professor of Clinical Immunology, at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry. He has previously held posts including Louis Freeman Professor of Immunology & Head of Division, Molecular Pathology, at Barts and The London/QMUL. and Honorary Fellow Department of Human Science and Medical Ethics, QMUL. He has published over 250 peer-reviewed papers and 5 books on HIV/AIDS, CFS/ME, and medical ethics, and has a strong interest in public policy involvement.
Mel Scaffold, Project Manager
Mel is passionate about producing and programming new writing, both in theatre and spoken word. Her most recent role was Programme Co-ordinator (South West) for Apples & Snakes, where she developed and promoted performance poets through new events and venue relationships, artist development workshops and innovative education programmes. Her background in arts education means she has supported many people to get their work off the page and onto the stage. As a member of the Arts Development & Education team at Theatre Royal Plymouth she managed primary projects, including ‘Playhouse’, the new writing partnership with York Theatre Royal and Polka, and most recently she has developed creative projects for children in care with Real Ideas Organisation. She is very interested in work that crosses boundaries – between countries, creative practices and disciplines – and is exploring these ideas through an MA in Performance Research.
Dr Jessica Mordsley, Project Evaluator and Researcher
Jessica is a freelance researcher and evaluator who has worked regularly with Theatrescience since 2008. She is interested in the nexus between the arts and sciences, working with young people, the arts in mental health, and interdisciplinary collaboration. She also works as a writer and editor, produces events, and has a PhD in Critical and Cultural Theory from Cardiff University.