New Population Theatre Production Sells Out at London’s Royal Court
Stephen Emmott is a professor of computing at Oxford University and head of Microsoft’s Computational Science Laboratory in Cambridge. He also appears to have sold out the The Royal Court Theatre (Britain’s leading national company) for three weeks, with his theatrical production Ten Billion, a co-operation between himself and distinguished director Katie Mitchell, whose past works have included A Woman Killed with Kindness at the National Theatre. It is encouraging that population issues are making headway into this art-form…. I suspect a play regarding the politics of population would make for an even more entertaining and educational production. Below is pasted an interview with Emmott, conducted by The Observer’s Robin McKie, published on July 15th 2012.
The Guardian’s Michael Billington has reviewed the play, beginning his article by noting Ten Billion made for “…one of the most disturbing evenings I have ever spent in a theatre.” Later, in his conclusion the reviewer writes, “Overpopulation is too big a subject to be ignored and what is impressive is that Professor Emmott argues his case with an implacable logic. He is quiet, humane and deeply concerned and when he says, at the end, ‘I think we’re f*cked’ you have to believe him.”
Oxford computing prof claims overpopulation is at the root of all the planet’s troubles
Science has not shouted out about unchecked human expansion. Now, one professor, Stephen Emmott, will proclaim its dangers on stage.
Stephen Emmott is a professor of computing at Oxford University and head of Microsoft’s Computational Science Laboratory in Cambridge. His lab is devoted to finding new techniques and ideas for solving key scientific problems. One of his research groups works on small-scale issues including the make-up of living cells and includes immunologists and neuroscientists. Another group is focused on global problems including the carbon cycle and is made up of plant biologists and marine ecologists.
Emmott, who is 52, is also the star of the forthcoming solo theatrical production Ten Billion, a co-operation between himself and distinguished director Katie Mitchell, whose past works have included A Woman Killed with Kindness at the National Theatre. The show opens at the Royal Court in London this week and focuses on the state our planet will be in when its population reaches 10 billion.
So what exactly is the play about?
It’s not really a play. I don’t know how to describe it. I have been calling it The Thing so far. In effect, the set – at the Upstairs theatre at the Royal Court – is a recreation of my office, which is a dump full of papers and piles of old journals. And there is a whiteboard, I will be drawing a lot on that. You could call it a discourse on the biggest experiment ever carried out by humans.
To read the full interview, please click here: http://churchandstate.org.uk/2012/07/oxford-computing-prof-claims-overpopulation-root-planets-troubles/