Symposium: The Evolution Project was a unique FREE event at The Old Vic which saw a panel of prominent scientists, creative thinkers and young people battle it out in a live debate about freedom of speech and the right to choose.

Symposium was inspired by Trevor Nunn’s Old Vic production of Lawrence and Lee’s Inherit the Wind, a grippingly relevant drama based on the 1925 Scopes ‘Monkey’ trial which saw two legal Titans confront each other when a community puts freedom of thought on Trial.

Topics such as Evolution versus Creationism, Stem Cell Theory and Cloning were all presented and investigated further through filmed media, specially created ‘response plays’ and Q & A’s informing a robust debate; The audience were then asked to decide which prominent expert put forward their argument most convincingly.

Speakers included Dr Joe Cain, Senior lecturer in History and Philosophy of Biology at the University College London and Dr Steve Fuller, Professor of sociology at Warwick University.

In addition to the debates, Old Vic New Voices Club members from London and Network members from New York were asked to write response plays to the themes of Inherit the Wind, which were performed by New Voices Club members in London as part of the event.

Two plays were written in an experimental workshop style, facilitated by The TEAM's Rachel Chavkin in New York and playwright Andrew Muir in London - the challenge being to create two cohesive play written by seven writers in each country with unique voices and styles; writers then also submitted individual scripts, two of which were chosen to complete the line-up of plays for the event. The plays were then directed, rehearsed and performed by an ensemble of Club members in London to support the debates within Symposium.

Following the event itself, debating continued through Ideas Tap, with event attendees and the site's users encouraged to share their thoughts and propose topics for future Symposium events.

Symposium: The Evolution Project

The Old Vic and Ideas Tap present
Symposium: The Evolution Project
Mon 19th October 2009


Written by Cesar Abella, Alex Christofi, Megan Ford, Joyce Lee, Martin Murphy, Mwewa Sumbwanyambe and Jennifer Tuckett
Directed by Alice Lacey


Pablo - Ian Keir Attard
Sarah - Elizabeth Crarer
Belle - Annemarie Gaillard
Joe - Calum Callaghan
Patrick - Neil Connolly
Tina - Ellie Paskell
Martin - Simon Darwen
Frank - Michael Quartey
Kate - Helen Millar
Michelle - Iris Roberts


Written by Clare Drobot, Cara Francis, Jeffrey James Keyes, Jon Kern, Caroline von Kuhn, Mike Lew, Gabriel McKinley, Latif Nasser, Hollie Rosenberg and Bianca Sams
Directed by Adam Lenson


Animatronic Girl - Iris Roberts
The Scientist - Michael Quartey
Pastor Kreuger - Ian Keir Attard
X1 - Neil Connolly
X2 - Elizabeth Crarer
A - Calum Callaghan
B - Ellie Paskell
C - Simon Darwen
D - Annemarie Gaillard


Written by Gabe McKinley
Directed by Eyal Israel


Dr. Walker - Simon Darwen
Dr. Theophilus - Helen Millar


Written by Megan Ford
Directed by Lotte Wakeham


Chad Martinez - Simon Darwen
Alice - Ellie Paskell
Charles Darwin - Ian Keir Attard
Louise Lewis - Helen Millar
Andy - Elizabeth Crarer
Jethro - Neil Connolly
Adam - Michael Quartey
Eve - Annemarie Gaillard
Reverend Holmes- Calum Callaghan
Maryanne Gillespie - Iris Roberts

Production Credits

Executive Producer:
Shaka Bunsie

Artistic Producers:
Alexander Ferris (London) & Rachael Stevens (New York)

Event Producers:
Dan Baker, Josh Black, Vassili Christodoulo, Paul Edkins, Natalie Eskinazi, Thea Foster, Sarah Loader, Michelle McMahon, Thomas Powis & Steve Watkins

Writing Workshop Facilitators:
Andrew Muir (London) & Rachel Chavkin (New York)