A Puppet Drama About Charles Darwin Is Coming to London's Natural History Museum
For Charles Darwin fans, London's Natural History Museum is the place to be. The institution boasts the world's largest collection of works by and about Darwin, as well as a selection of some of the specimens he collected on his historic travels. And soon, The Guardian reports, that will include a work of drama—a puppet show about the famed naturalist's coming of age.
Using 30 different puppets and seven actors, The Wider Earth tells the coming-of-age story of Darwin, who set out on his voyage on the HMS Beagle when he was just 22 years old. His five-year experience sailing around the world on the ship helped develop his groundbreaking theories on evolution. The play illustrates his journey in part through some of the original illustrations made on his voyage. The puppets include representations of animals Darwin saw, like a giant Galapagos tortoise, an Amazonian iguana, and an Arctic tern.
The two-hour play, aimed at adult audiences, will run from October 2 to December 30, 2018 at the Natural History Museum in London.
It's an appropriate venue for a work about the naturalist. In order to reach the performance space, audiences will have to pass by the museum's Darwin Center, which houses 22 million zoological specimens. Some of those specimens include ones Darwin collected in the 1830s while on the Beagle.
"During this expedition, Charles Darwin collected the specimens that would inspire his theory of evolution and change how we understand the world—specimens we still house at the Museum and continue to make available for global scientific research," as the Natural History Museum's Clare Matterson explained in a press release about the play.
Following its 2016 world premiere in Australia, this will be the play's first European production. It's also the first time that the Natural History Museum has constructed a performance theater within its halls. It's turning its Jerwood Gallery into a 357-seat theater to stage the play.
[h/t The Guardian]