University mathematicians bring chaos to Old Vic
Press release issued: 1 October 2004
The actors in Tom Stoppard's play Arcadia at Bristol Old Vic have mastered their roles - with a little help from mathematicians at Bristol University.
The actors in Tom Stoppard’s play Arcadia at Bristol Old Vic have mastered their roles – with a little help from mathematicians at Bristol University.
Arcadia is described in the theatre’s publicity as “a comic celebration of the unpredictability of human desire”. Stoppard uses mathematics – especially chaos theory – to explore his themes.
Mathematicians from the University were asked to help the cast get to grips with the science behind the play. And so Professor Jon Keating and Dr Andy Burbanks ran seminars for them on chaos theory.
Professor Keating said: “It was great fun for us. Arcadia is a wonderful demonstration that maths can play a central role in comedy, passion and intrigue!”
Actors and mathematicians were rubbing shoulders again last night [September 30] at a special after-show party at the University.
Professor Steve Wiggins, Head of Mathematics, said: “We are taking all our first-year students to see the play. It’s an excellent opportunity to show them there is a human side to mathematics at the start of their university studies.”
Arcadia is on until October 16. It is directed by Rachel Kavanaugh and co-produced by Bristol Old Vic and Birmingham Repertory Theatre Company.
Czech-born Tom Stoppard, one of the world’s greatest living dramatists, was once a reporter on the Bristol-based Western Daily Press.