‘State of Nature’ by Simon Turley

‘Not My Fault’, now completed and very positively evaluated, comprised: an initial workshop involving theatre practitioners, writers, scientists and clinicians, six resultant script commissions, a Ridgeway School show performed at the Eden Project, two script development workshops (in London and Cardiff) and performances of ‘STATE Of NATURE’ and three other short plays by emergent writers at The Lost Gardens of Heligan, The Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry and at the Eden Project. The rehearsal drafts of the scripts performed at Eden have been published by Parthian Press and the full rehearsal/performance process and programme have been archivised by Warwick University. Video material and a podcast are also available on this site. 

Soon after the floods that closed Eden on the day we were meant to start performing Mel Scaffold, Project Manager, wrote: ‘Despite the challenges thrown up by the extreme weather conditions in Cornwall, Theatrescience managed to go ahead with the full programme of the Saturday Launch Event and Sunday performance. With the weekday performances cancelled, the wonderful staff at Eden arranged a new venue for us at their sister site the Lost Gardens of Heligan, who offered a performance space for the homeless play in the covered area outside the cafe.
‘Theatrescience at Eden’ became ‘Theatrescience at Heligan’ for the day. Despite the upheaval and relocations, the audience arrived in force in a greater number than the team had originally expected even at Eden. Almost every guest who had booked to attend at the Eden Project transferred their ticket to the new venue and, despite being 20 degrees colder than originally planned (!), the plays and talks ran to great success with excellent feedback from the audience. As the programme came to a close, we adjourned inside the Lost Gardens of Heligan tea rooms for a glass of wine, a cup of tea and a stimulating panel discussion about the issues raised by the play. One of the panelists, Shelagh Otway of the Alzheimer’s Society wrote of the experience, “Thank you for a most enjoyable day - one that was powerful, emotive, truthful and provocative.  It was a privilege to be able to talk about the work the [Alzheimer’s] Society is involved in alongside people who are able to demonstrate so eloquently through drama the obstacles people with dementia and their carers meet.”

The next day, thanks to the speedy support of Prof Anthony Pinching, Theatrescience moved the production to The Knowledge Spa at Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro. We had an enthusiastic audience, mostly from the immediate Truro area, who gave some lovely comments on the performances.
Now that the flood-water is receding and the badly-hit Eden is recovering, Theatrescience is looking forward to its first performance of the play in the original, intended location of the Rainforest Biome on Tuesday through to Thursday of this week.@

‘State of Nature’ is partially set in a Bengali tropical forest. Patrick has an aggressive form of dementia: Lewy Body. When his niece, Louise, comes to live with him and care for him it is both an act of love and a research project.

Patrick’s life, in his large, rambling house in the Cornish countryside, is shot through with another world of memory – of the Naxalbari Uprising in India, where his commitment to radical politics brought him together with the love of his life. As the division between past and present disintegrates, Patrick’s inner world refuses to be contained, and breaks out all around him.

Theatrescience has been commissioning and producing new plays by UK and Indian playwrights for the past eight years, using drama and theatre to explore some of the ethical, personal, political and economic issues raised by advances in biomedical science. In 2008 Theatrescience was invited by the Wellcome Trust to remount a production of ‘Something Somatic’, also by Simon Turley, for a group of senior advisors in the Mediterranean Biome at the Eden Project in Cornwall. This planted the seed for the ‘Not My Fault’ project, taking inspiration from the Wellcome Trust’s Society Awards theme ‘Genetic difference and health’.

Over the past year Theatrescience has commissioned and developed six new site-specific plays, one of which was ‘State of Nature’ by Simon Turley. This tale of genetics, love and loss in Eden, will be performed amongst the lush flora and fauna of the Eden Project’s Rainforest Biome from 17 – 25 November.

Three emerging writers from the South West - Kitty O’Keeffe, Jack Redmond and Sophie MacDonald - have also created short, pocket-sized pieces, which will be performed alongside Simon Turley’s play at the Eden Project.

By presenting them in an unexpected and startlingly original space, Theatrescience’s productions at the Eden Project comprise a unique theatrical experience that cannot be forgotten.’


Project News

State of Nature Review
January 06, 2011

Review in the British Medical Journal.


Project Podcasts

State of Nature Podcast

November 14, 2010

'State of Nature' by Simon Turley is Theatrescience's newest production. A tale of love, loss and genetics it premieres at the Eden Project from 17 November 2010. This podcast is a live recording of the full play, during rehearsal at Islington Arts Factory.

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Project Videos

‘State of Nature’ trailer

Will Thomas’s Bollywood-style take on the rehearsals for ‘State of Nature’ by Simon Turley, being produced at the Eden Project 17-15 November 2010.

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