This book is about science in theatre and performance. It explores how theatre and performance engage with emerging scientific themes from artificial intelligence to genetics and climate change. The book covers a wide range of performance forms from the spectacle of the Paralympics Opening Ceremony to Broadway musicals, from experimental contemporary performance and opera to educational theatre, Somali poetic drama and grime videos. It features work by pioneering companies including Gob Squad, Headlong Theatre and Theatre of Debate as well as offering fresh analysis of global blockbusters such as Wicked and Urinetown. The book offers detailed description and analysis of theatre and performance practices as well as broader commentary on the politics of theatre as public engagement with science. It documents important examples of collaborative practice with extended discussion of the Theatre of Debate process developed by Y Touring theatre company, exploration of bilingual theatre-making in East London and an account of how grime MCs and dermatologists ended up making a film together in Birmingham. The interdisciplinary approach draws on contemporary research in theatre and performance studies in combination with key ideas from science studies. It shows how theatre can offer important perspectives on what the philosopher of science Isabelle Stengers has called ‘cosmopolitics’. The book argues that theatre can flatten knowledge hierarchies and hold together different ways of knowing.
This book contributes to the study of science and politics by shedding light on sometimes dark, hidden or ignored aspects of openness as a core policy agenda. While opening up of science to public scrutiny and public deliberation is good in principle, various dilemmas and problems are entailed by this move, which also should be made public and be discussed more openly. Developed as a solution to perceived crises in science/society relations, openness and transparency initiatives might hide ‘monsters’ that need to be made visible and need to be examined. Chapters in this book deal with four themes: transparency in the context of science in the public sphere; responsibility in the context of in contemporary research practice and governance, both globally and locally; experts in the context of policy-making, risk assessment and the regulation of science; and faith in the context of tensions and misunderstandings between science and religion. Each section of the book contains an opening essay by experts on a particular theme (Mark Brown, Benjamin Worthy, Barbara Prainsack/Sabina Leonelli, Chris Toumey). The book closes with an epilogue by Stephen Turner and an essay by John Holmwood. At present, openness in science is more important than ever. This book should be of interest to academics and members of the public who want to know more about the challenges and opportunities of 'making science public' - the theme of a Leverhulme Trust funded research programme on which this book is based.
Science in performance: convergence,
emergence and divergence
Starting with a (big) bang
Sir Ian McKellen as Prospero: Miranda, go out into the world. Will you be
for all of us gathering here our eyes, our ears and our hearts? Shine your
light on the beautiful diversity of humanity. Understand those rights that
protect us. Look up, stretch your wings and fly. Will you take the journey for
all of us and will you set us free?
Professor Stephen Hawking: We live in a universe governed by rational laws
that we can discover and understand. Look up at the stars and
Laughing at science in the theatre:
Gob Squad, a funny robot and
In a fleeting moment at a rehearsal for My Square Lady, in a large space
backstage at a Berlin opera house, Myon, the humanoid robot and ostensibly central character of the piece, turned its head and focussed its gaze
on me. I briefly appeared on the screen overhead showing Myon’s periodically changing and unpredictable point of view. I laughed quietly to
or maybe at myself. In the notes I made at the time about this rehearsal
session, I also remarked that one of the
This book produces a major rethinking of the history of development after 1940 through an exploration of Britain’s ambitions for industrialisation in its Caribbean colonies. Industrial development is a neglected topic in histories of the British Colonial Empire, and we know very little of plans for Britain’s Caribbean colonies in general in the late colonial period, despite the role played by riots in the region in prompting an increase in development spending. This account shows the importance of knowledge and expertise in the promotion of a model of Caribbean development that is best described as liberal rather than state-centred and authoritarian. It explores how the post-war period saw an attempt by the Colonial Office to revive Caribbean economies by transforming cane sugar from a low-value foodstuff into a lucrative starting compound for making fuels, plastics and medical products. In addition, it shows that as Caribbean territories moved towards independence and America sought to shape the future of the region, scientific and economic advice became a key strategy for the maintenance of British control of the West Indian colonies. Britain needed to counter attempts by American-backed experts to promote a very different approach to industrial development after 1945 informed by the priorities of US foreign policy.
nature and society by the state in the name of development was not a feature of British economic diversification plans for the British Caribbean. In this case, the links between scientific research and economic activity were loosely coordinated. It was a form of development where the initiative in establishing new industry ultimately lay with businessmen who would make judgements about compounds offered up by science.
While representing a more liberal version of development than the large-scale agricultural projects in Britain’s African colonies
Re-examining ‘creationist’ monsters in the
uncharted waters of social studies of science
The subject of a clash between scientific and religious world views is
often repeated as a very real ‘fact’ in scholarly, policy and public
discourse – with creationists being painted as the ultimate unenlightened monsters that threaten scientific, and by extension societal,
progress. There is, so we are told, a real and inevitable clash between
world views – one that within extreme iterations can only be negotiated
by an outright rejection
Sujatha Raman, Pru Hobson-West, Mimi E. Lam, and Kate Millar
‘Science Matters’ and the public interest:
the role of minority engagement
Sujatha Raman, Pru Hobson-West,
Mimi E. Lam, Kate Millar
Much has been written about how the public are imagined and
constituted in recent science–society developments. In this chapter
we explore the relatively neglected but related question of how the
relationship between science and the public interest is constituted.
The question is timely in the wake of Britain’s exit from the European
Union and the election of Donald Trump as US president. Both have
raised significant concerns
Reflections on the relationship between science and society from the perspective of physics
Big science and small science: reflections
on the relationship between science and
society from the perspective of physics
The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. (Albert
Einstein, The World as I See It)
Chester V: ‘There’s no such thing as small science, only small scientists.’
(Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2)
In this chapter I will discuss some of the possible answers as to why science
is a valuable enterprise. If this is
Dystopian performatives and vertigo aesthetics in popular theatre
sums up a problem driving public engagement with science. Science may satisfy its own obligations
towards a particular conception of truth in the production of knowledge.
However, such truths seem not to satisfy science’s publics in terms of
their demands for sensation. Indeed, scientific institutions and individual scientists are often resistant to attempts by popular media to sensationalise even at the same time as they desire engagement. To follow
Atwood’s line of thought, science often fails to satisfy a particular need to