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Based at The University of Edinburgh, the ESRC Genomics Policy and Research Forum is part of the ESRC Genomics Network and pioneers new ways to promote and communicate social research on the contemporary life sciences.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

ESRC Genomics Forum Playwright presents new genomics-inspired play

Playwright-in-Residence Peter Arnott
Even though the work of the ESRC Genomics Forum officially ended at the start of June this year, its legacy lives on. Peter Arnott was Playwright-in –Residence with Forum from 2011 until 2012. As a direct result of this residency, Peter has now completed a genomics-inspired play which will receive a rehearsed reading at Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre, later this week.

In an interview on the theatre’s website, Peter explains how issues around the life sciences interweave with and influence the lives of the characters in his play, with dramatic consequences. He explains:

“What I'm trying to do in the play is look at what the new knowledge we have about ‘how’ life works, in order to consider the more traditional playwright's territory of ‘why’? There is a really urgent question for me, which I think feeds into absolutely everything we ever talk about in the theatre and in new writing: ‘How do we value human life now that we understand how it connects to a universe where nothing has any more value than anything else?’

“If we're not created, we are accidents, and need to find a new reason to care.

“So I'm looking at a family whose life is, well, perfect. They're comfortable, civilised, well intentioned (or pretty much). The drama comes from biology...the unnegotiatable facts of life and death.

“The play is about what happened to us when we're suddenly smacked in the face by something that forces us to recognise ourselves for what we are... with the ‘new’ knowledge. And to wonder how it changes us.”

Group Portrait in a Landscape (Et In Arcadia...) will be performed as a rehearsed reading at the Traverse Theatre on Thursday 26 September at 7.30pm. For further information and to book tickets visit: http://traverse.co.uk/

The full interview with Peter Arnott can be read at: http://traverse.co.uk/news/peter-arnott-presents-new-play-this-week/

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