Mr. Darwin’s Tree, the acclaimed British one-man play about the life and work of Charles Darwin, will tour 11 North American Christian college campuses in 2019. Produced by SCIO, and underwritten by Templeton Religion Trust, and The Blankemeyer Foundation the tour aims to strengthen the educational environment on CCCU campuses by enhancing the conversation on science and religion.
Written by noted playwright and director Murray Watts (The Miracle Maker, KJB: The Book that Changed the World, The Dream) and starring leading British film, TV, and theatre actor Andrew Harrison (Dorian Gray, Miss Marple, Beyond Narnia), Mr. Darwin’s Tree presents a very human and very real Charles Darwin, one who wrestled with the challenges that his theories posed for traditional beliefs. It also presents Darwin’s wife, Emma, as an intelligent and articulate representative of Christian faith. In doing so, the play rejects the ‘straw man’ effigies of Darwin presented by both his extreme protagonists and antagonists, providing the opportunity for lively engagement, thoughtful conversations, and fresh explorations.
‘Discussing creation and evolution in abstract terms often leads to polarized and emotional debates,’ said SCIO Executive Director and Bridging the Two Cultures of Science and the Humanities Project Director, Dr Stan Rosenberg. ‘Seeing these issues in their historical context and connected to real people, by contrast, helps us to understand the complexity of the issues and to discuss them in more nuanced and less confrontational ways.’
Hailed for packing in ‘a great deal of history and fascinating insight [thanks to] the show’s 75-minute bravura performance by solo actor Andrew Harrison’ (Christian Today) and acclaimed as ‘an elegantly conceived, clever and highly informative performance, overflowing with gentle humour and charm (Three Weeks Magazine, Edinburgh), the tour will mark the play’s first performances in the USA since its 2009 premiere at Westminster Abbey. The production has had highly successful runs at the Edinburgh Festival in 2011 and at the King’s Head Theatre, London, in 2012. Since then, it has travelled to Oxford, Cambridge, St Andrews, many other universities, colleges, and theatres in the UK, and on a previous North American Tour in 2016 with the project, Bridging the Two Cultures in Science and Christianity.
‘Mr. Darwin’s Tree is not a play which is polemical in any way,’ says playwright Murray Watts, ‘and it does not seek to explore the relative merits of evolution, whether theistic or atheistic, and it does not examine arguments for creationism or intelligent design. Rather, it looks intently at the emotional, psychological and spiritual crises at the heart of one of the most earth-shattering periods in our cultural and scientific history.’