Thursday, 8 October 2009

Beagle-inspired play at the RI and logbooks used for climate studies

Tree of Life blog readers who live or can get to London on the evening of Thursday 29 October might be interested in a one-off performance of Juliet Aykroyd's play The Ostrich and the Dolphin and the subsequent discussion at the Royal Institution of Great Britain.

Blurb from the RI website:

The Dolphin is Robert FitzRoy, pioneer of weather forecasting and captain of HMS Beagle. Charles Darwin, his seasick passenger, is the Ostrich. The outcome of their adventurous sea voyage between 1831-6 was Darwin's momentous account of the Origin of Species: a Theory which subverted FitzRoy's beliefs and threatened his very being.

In a 4-way dialogue between their younger and older selves, the play dramatises the FizRoy and Darwin's doomed friendship, and reveals one tragic aftermath of the great Beagle voyage.

After the play there will be a discussion of the play's themes and Darwin's ideas featuring Juliet Aykroyd, Lord Julian Hunt, former Chief Executive of the Met Office, and Professor Armand Leroi, an evolutionary developmental biologist. The discussion is chaired by Baroness Susan Greenfield, Director of the Royal Institution of Great Britain.

Tickets cost £8 (£6 concessions, £4 for members of the RI) and can be booked here.

In related Beagle news, earlier this week the BBC reported that the logbooks of the HMS Beagle are to be used in retrospective climate studies, which may give researchers clues as to past climate. Hat-tip to the Beagle Project blog for this.


  1. Found out today that I will be seeing this play when in London (of course) for a research trip to a few archives. In fact, I will be going with Karen James, of The HMS Beagle Project!

  2. This looks great. Look forward to reading the reviews.