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Boy Genius

06 February 2007

School, college and university students across Wales are to take part in a ground-breaking project that combines art and science with theatre to explore the complex area of genetics and the nature of human identity.

Boy Genius is the work of Louise Osborn - one of Wales’ most gifted playwrights - who has put the world of genetic research at the heart of a profound, engaging, funny and moving drama. The drama examines how much of our behaviour and personality can be attributed to our genetic make-up and to what extent are we determined by our genes.

Louise Osborn said: "When I was first approached I thought the subject sounded dry and dull but it’s absolutely fascinating and provokes profound questions about the nature of being human. It certainly challenged my own pre-conceived ideas."

Professor Ken Woodhouse, Cardiff University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor of External Affairs said: "Using theatre and art to enable young people across Wales to explore and debate ethical and social issues related to developments within human genetics is exciting and innovative. The University, and Wales Gene Park, is proud to have formed a successful partnership with Gwent Theatre to produce 'Boy Genius'

The ‘boy genius’ in question is Joe whose personality has broken down and whose turmoil has led him to destroy the study and laboratory of a pioneering scientist. The drama’s big question asks: is Joe mad in a sane world or is his behaviour a sane response to a mad world?

The Wales Gene Park at Cardiff University, in collaboration with the Genetic Interest Group charity and Gwent Theatre, won a Society Award from the Wellcome Trust’s Public Engagement Funding Programme to support the development and production of the interactive theatre workshop.