Darwin production to tour UK

The world premiere of Mr Darwin’s Tree was performed last night in Westminster Abbey, the burial place of the 19th century English naturalist.

The play, written by award winning screenwriter Murray Watts and starring actor Andrew Harrison, has been commissioned by theology think tank Theos as part of its Rescuing Darwin project, which has been running throughout 2009.

Commenting on the play, Director of Theos, Paul Woolley said: "Mr Darwin's Tree is an outstanding addition to the many events that have taken place throughout this, the double anniversary year of Charles Darwin's life and seminal work.

"A powerful and deeply moving piece of theatre, the play explores Darwin's questions about his science, himself, God and suffering, creating an intimate portrait of the man, his life and his work.

"Murray Watts has done a magnificent job in ensuring that the play offers a faithful depiction of Darwin, drawing deeply on his diaries and correspondence, to get underneath the skin of the scientist."

The production will now go on tour throughout the UK.

During 2009, Theos has been running a major events and publications programme to 'rescue' Charles Darwin from the crossfire of a theological battle in which he had little personal interest.

In May, 800 people attended Westminster Abbey for a Theos debate entitled 'Did Darwin kill God?' The event, chaired by the Today programme's Sarah Montague, explored the compatibility of belief in God and Darwinian evolution. On the panel were Lord Winston, Professor Steve Jones, Dr Denis Alexander, and Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell.