Rehearsals have begun for The Wider Earth which will play in a specially created theatre at the Natural History Museum from the 2nd October. 

The Wider Earth at the Natural History Museum. Photo by Mark Douet. _50A3858
(c) Mark Douet. 

Written and directed by Dead Puppet Society’s David Morton, The Wider Earth was initially conceived in Cape Town in 2013 during a mentorship with Handspring Puppet Company, the creative team behind War Horse.

Now the play will make its European debut in a specially created theatre at the Natural History Museum.

The Wider Earth at the Natural History Museum. Photo by Mark Douet. _50A4306
(c)Mark Douet. 

The production explores the little-known story of the rebellious young Charles Darwin when, aged only 22, he set out on his daring five-year voyage on the HMS Beagle. When he departed, he could not have known that that this trip would help him reach controversial conclusions about natural selection and lead to his theory of evolution. The Wider Earth follows Darwin’s expedition as uncharted landscapes unfold in a series of dazzling animations and original illustrations from the voyage.

The Wider Earth at the Natural History Museum. Photo by Mark Douet. _50A5262
(c)Mark Douet. 

The cast for the production is led by Bradley Foster as a rebellious young Darwin. He will be joined on stage by Ian Houghton, Andrew Bridgmont, Matt Tait, Bradley Foster, Jack Parry-Jones, Marcello Cruz, Melissa Vaughan, Rory Fairbairn and Kim Scopes.

As well as the human cast, The Wider Earth will also feature thirty puppets representing the tropical wildlife Darwin encountered on his voyage. The variety of puppets range from tiny Galápagos finches, to giant tortoises and a fossilised glyptodon, created following observations in the field and extensive analysis of anatomical drawings.

The Wider Earth at the Natural History Museum. Photo by Mark Douet. _80A1734
(c) Mark Douet. 

Nicholas Paine and David Morton of Dead Puppet Society said: “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 Wider Earth at the Natural History Museum. Photo by Mark Douet. _80A2099
(c)Mark Douet. 

Presented by Trish Wadley Productions and Dead Puppet Society in association with Glass Half Full Productions, The Wider Earth will be performed in a brand new 357-seat theatre in the Jerwood Gallery. By presenting the play in this new space, it 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.

The Wider Earth will feature designs by David Morton and Aaron Barton, projection design by Justin Harrison and  sound design by Tony Brumpton.

The Wider Earth will play at the Natural History Museum from the 2nd October until the 30th December. For more information and to book tickets visit: https://thewiderearth.com/