The Wider Earth
Jerwood Gallery, Natural History Museum
2nd October to 30th December 2018
“Award-winning Darwin drama The Wider Earth has announced its cast which features War Horse
actors, Ian Houghton, Andrew Bridgmont and Matt Tait. Written and directed by Dead Puppet
Society’s Creative Director David Morton, The Wider Earth was initially conceived in 2013 in Cape
Town during a mentorship with Handspring Puppet Company, the creative team behind War
Horse. This visually spectacular production features 30 extraordinary puppets representing the
tropical wildlife Darwin encountered on his voyage. The production will have its European
premiere in the first performance theatre ever to be built at the Natural History Museum.
This coming-of-age story follows a rebellious young Darwin, played by Bradley Foster, who aged
only 22, set out on an intrepid five-year voyage on HMS Beagle to distant and exotic lands.
These incredible hand-made puppets are as much the stars of the show as the stellar cast who will
bring them to life. From tiny Galápagos finches, to giant tortoises and a fossilised glyptodon, the
puppets have been made following observations in the field and extensive analysis of anatomical
drawings. Created over the past two years, the puppets have now had their final stages of
fabrication and modification at the Darwin Centre in the Natural History Museum.
Nicholas Paine and David Morton of Dead Puppet Society comment, what makes this work special
is its unique approach to storytelling, casting talented actors to play famous historical figures, who
bring to life an array of incredible creatures through masterful puppetry. We’re thrilled to be
working with our original Australian creative team of Composers and Designers to stage The Wider
Earth in such an incredible building.
The new 357-seat theatre, built for the first time in the Jerwood Gallery, will allow audiences to
enter the Museum after dark and pass the cutting-edge Darwin Centre, a working scientific
laboratory full of zoological specimens including those collected by Darwin on his voyage. Led by
paleobiologist Professor Adrian Lister, author of Darwin’s Fossils, the Museum’s scientists are
working closely with the creative producers.“
Review by Richard Lambert, 5 Stars
Charting the evolution of Charles Darwin, a young intelligent man with lots of ideas, as he sails a 2 year expedition which becomes 5 years, a man with friends of faith embroiled in Religion, he comes to the conclusion that’s so radical he’s scared to publish his findings and conclusions. A slightly unconventional youth who inspires faith in those who know and love him.
It’s a fantastic journey. He travels the charted waters and the uncharted territories. He delights in the joy of nature and the different details of adaptation in similar species to make them thrive in their individual specific environments. He concludes that the creatures, planets and our World must have “evolved”. The controversy is that it’s not all part of one big design plan of the almighty Lord, nature plays an even stronger hand.
The component parts of this production – the video content, the projection, the screen hung like a large sail wrapping around the rear of the stage, the Set itself, the lighting, the effects, the revolve, the Soundscape, the Sound System……there is nothing else in the UK like this!!! This is an integration on a Vegas scale which absolutely nails the technicality and makes it look simple!
Add into this mix the cast, the hair, the costumes, the props and the exquisite puppet animals. Sit it all on the foundation of a brilliant story, an excellent script. It’s all so true and relevant to our society – you can’t fail to be overwhelmed by the magnitude of this epic adventure!
Rarely can education be so entertaining! The cast are truly wonderful but it’s the production package that raises this to the extraordinary!
Thankfully this fascinating theatrical experience can now be enjoyed by everyone!!!! You won’t want to miss it!
Trailer for THE WIDER EARTH: Click here
Title The Wider Earth
Performance Dates Tuesday 2nd October – Sunday 30th December 2018
Tuesday – Saturday, 7:30pm
Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, 2:30pm
Check website for exact schedule
Box Office http://www.thewiderearth.com/
Location Jerwood Gallery at the Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road,
Kensington, London SW7 5BD.
Patrons who will be attending the evening show will be able to access the
building through the Queen’s Gate entrance.
How to get there The nearest tube station is South Kensington on the District, Piccadilly and
Circle lines. The station is approximately five minutes’ walk from the
Museum’s Exhibition Road entrance. Gloucester Road station also services
the above tube lines and is approximately 5 minutes’ walk from the
Queen’s Gate entrance.
Bus routes 14, 49, 70, 74, 345, 360, 414, 430 and C1 stop close to the
Running time 2 hours 10 minutes including interval
Twitter @thewiderearth, @NHM_London, #TheWiderEarth
Producers Trish Wadley Productions, Dead Puppet Society and Glass
Half Full Productions
Writer, Director and Co-Designer David Morton
Creative Producer Nicholas Paine
Co-Composers Lior and Tony Buchen
Co-Designer Aaron Barton
Lighting Designer David Walters
UK Lighting Designer Lee Curran
Show Control Programming Tom Hackers of HAVE Sound
Projection Designer Justin Harrison
Sound Designer Tony Brumpton
Casting Director Ellie Collyer-Bristow CDG
Charles Darwin Bradley Foster
Robert Darwin/Richard Matthews Ian Houghton
Henslow/Herschel/Sailor Andrew Bridgmont
Fitzroy Jack Parry -Jones
Jemmy Marcello Cruz
Wickham Matt Tait
Emma Wedgwood/Sailor Melissa Vaughan
Walking Understudy Rory Fairbairn
Understudy/ASM Kim Scopes
Dead Puppet Society
Dead Puppet Society is a visual theatre and design company based between Brisbane and New
York City. Their most recent production Laser Beak Man (with Brisbane Festival and La Boite)
premiered following a two year residency at The New Victory Theater in New York City. The Wider
Earth was initially developed at St. Ann’s Warehouse and Lincoln Centre, premiered with
Queensland Theatre and transferred to the Sydney Opera House for Sydney Festival. Prior to this,
the Society worked with Handspring Puppet Company (War Horse) in South Africa and created
Argus (Lincoln Center, Kravis Center Florida, Australian National Tour). Previous works include The
Harbinger (La Boite Theatre Company Australian National Tour), The Timely Death Of Victory Blott
(Metro Arts) and Little Grey Wolf (Brisbane Festival and Adelaide Fringe. The Society has received
several awards from The Jim Henson Foundation for the creation of new work and was awarded
the Gold Matilda Award in 2017 for their body of work in 2016. They have recently been
nominated for six Helpmann Awards for The Wider Earth and Laser Beak Man.
Trish Wadley Productions
Trish Wadley spent 20 years working internationally in media before moving to theatre and has
worked at the Bush Theatre and Tricycle Theatre. For Defibrillator, as Executive Producer, she has
produced A Lie Of The Mind (Southwark Playhouse) Speech & Debate (Trafalgar Studios); The Hotel
Plays (Grange Hotel and Langham, London); Hard Feelings and The One Day of the Year
(Finborough); The Armour (Langham, London) and Insignificance (Langham Place, New York). As
producer: Burning Bridges (Theatre503). As co-producer: Olivier-nominated The Red Lion
(Trafalgar Studios) and My Night With Reg (Apollo Theatre). Trish is a Stage One Bursary recipient
and director of The Uncertainty Principle. She is also a founder of The Australian & New Zealand
Festival of Literature & Arts (FANZA).
Glass Half Full Productions
Glass Half Full Productions is a London-based production company, managed by Gareth Lake and
founded by Gareth Lake and Adam Blanshay. UK credits include: Pinter at the Pinter, King Lear,
Caroline or Change, Glengarry Glen Ross, Oslo, Hamlet, Dreamgirls, Buried Child, Funny Girl, The
End of Longing, The Spoils, Doctor Faustus, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, A Christmas Carol, Made
in Dagenham, Sunny Afternoon (Winner of four Olivier Awards), The Nether, Shrek Tour, I Can’t
Sing, 1984, Ghosts (Winner of three Olivier Awards) and Mojo. Broadway credits include:
Groundhog Day, Sunday in the Park with George, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time
and the Globe transfer of Twelfth Night/Richard III. International credits include: Matilda and My
Fair Lady in Australia and the international tour of the world-renowned Blue Man Group.
The Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum exists to inspire a love of the natural world and unlock answers to
the big issues facing humanity and the planet. It is a world-leading science research centre, and
through its unique collection and unrivalled expertise it is tackling issues such as food security,
eradicating diseases and managing resource scarcity. The Natural History Museum is the most
visited natural history museum in Europe and the top science attraction in the UK; we welcome
more than 4.5 million visitors each year and our website receives over 500,000 unique visitors a
month. People come from around the world to enjoy our galleries and events and engage both inperson
and online with our science and learning activities through innovative programmes such as
citizen science and family festivals. The Jerwood Gallery at the Natural History Museum was
beautifully restored in 1999 with a generous donation from the Jerwood Foundation to provide a
home in the Museum for arts and science exhibitions and activities. www.nhm.ac.uk