Creating A Voyage to Change the World at the Barbican, Plymouth

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The Barbican Theatre got in touch with news of their act of creation for their A Voyage to Change the World performance, based on the life and work of Charles Darwin. Conjuring up something out of nothing is something the Creationists could level at Darwin, and this is as much a voyage of discover for the young artists as it is a retelling of the Darwin tale, as they themselves evolve through the process of creation. But this is what the theatre had to say.

Rehearsals are underway at the Barbican Theatre for a performance that is yet to have a script! With tickets already on sale and the show’s marketing campaign underway the creative team of young people and local artists are working hard to create a top notch show ready for its opening in July.

In most professions this method would be called madness but in ours its called Devising Theatre or The Act of Creation!

The show is based on the life of Charles Darwin, an English naturalist who realised and presented compelling evidence that all species of life have evolved over time from common ancestors, through the process he called natural selection.

The title of the performance is A Voyage to Change the World! And 30 daring young people from across Plymouth have come together to explore what happens when you have a big idea and how the world reacts, ridicule or celebration?

Devising theatre is a whole sum of voyages, ideas and fragments that come from the experiences and understanding of the participants and creators involved. The theme of the piece is explored during each rehearsal through physical movement, script and character interactions, with improvisations and collaborations leading to a fixed form that the director and writers then turn into the finished piece.

The young people are integral to the development of the piece and are deemed artists in their own right with valid views and ideas for the progression, development and structure no matter what their age or background.

With rehearsals underway since Easter the piece has developed through many different stages. Tonight we are looking at the ladder of nature and genesis, how did we arrive? Who are our forbearers? Serious subject matter for young people to tackle, some might think, but all approach the rehearsal with maturity, interest, passion and skill. The meanings investigated are important as they justify systems and hierarchies that we as human beings have all come to accept and live by and could hold the answer to the narrative of the story.

During this rehearsal many experiments occur into how best to portray the subject matter, with leadership and guidance being given from the artistic director of the theatre and other more experienced members of the cast. Each scenario is noted by the director and writers who will come back to it during creative sessions outside the rehearsals to make decisions on plot lines and action sequences.

With only six weeks to go to the opening performance at the Barbican Theatre the team look on track to produce another truly unique and inspiring live performance for indoors and out, an act of creation is not to be missed.

Friday, July 17 8pm @ Barbican Theatre Plymouth
Saturday, July 18 8pm @ Barbican Theatre Plymouth
Saturday, July 25 2pm & 4pm City Centre Piazza (as part of the Big Week Celebrations for the Cultural Olympiad)
Friday, July 31 8pm @ Barbican Theatre Plymouth
Saturday, August 1 8pm @ Barbican Theatre Plymouth

Other dates are yet to be confirmed but will be published on the Barbican theatre’s website.

Tickets are available for the Barbican Theatre Box Office 01752 267131 or email