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CREDIT Kensington Palace

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are to attend a gala performance of The Wider Earth

Their Royal Highnesses will attend the gala performance in the Duke’s official capacity of President of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust.

The Wider Earth – the critically acclaimed drama about the young Charles Darwin’s expedition on HMS Beagle playing at the custom-built theatre in the Jerwood Gallery at London’s Natural History Museum until 24 February – will hold a special VIP Gala Night on 12 February 2019. The gala, hosted by Julia Bradbury, and in the presence of HRH the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, will be held to commemorate Charles Darwin’s 210th birthday, and will support The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust and the production’s official charitable partner The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy.

Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will attend the gala performance in the Duke’s official capacity of President of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust.

Trish Wadley, on behalf of the producers of The Wider Earth, said, “as an Australian production with a global view, we are thrilled to support a Commonwealth initiative that encourages multiple nations to join together and create a meaningful green footprint on the planet for future generations.”

Sir Michael Dixon, Director of the Natural History Museum, said, “We are delighted to welcome TRH the Duke and Duchess of Sussex into the Museum to mark the 210th birthday of Charles Darwin - and to celebrate the brilliant work of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust and The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy. As a charity ourselves, the Museum acts to inspire the next generation to protect the natural world. Over 150 years since Darwin began working with the Museum’s Collection, it remains home to many of the specimens collected on his expeditions. Today, our 350 scientists continue to use the Collection, and Darwin’s scientific legacy, as we seek solutions to the major issues facing the planet today.”

Julia Bradbury, best known for presenting BBC’s Countryfile and ITV’s Britain’s Best Walks and a forthcoming series Julia Bradbury’s Australia, which will first be shown on ITV on 14 February 2019, is a passionate advocate for the conservation of the natural world, and a tireless campaigner against plastic pollution. She said, “I am thrilled to be hosting The Wider Earth’s gala night. This theatrical celebration of discovery is a testament to the beauty of nature, and a reminder of our duty to protect the landscapes and wildlife that Charles Darwin loved so much.”

Tickets include a pre-show reception hosted by The Australian High Commission and are available at www.thewiderearth.com or by contacting rsvp@thewiderearth.com  by Monday 4 February 2019

The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy is a unique network of forest conservation initiatives that marks Her Majesty The Queen’s service to the Commonwealth and conserves indigenous forests across the globe. Through their voluntary commitment to this pan-Commonwealth initiative, the nations of the Commonwealth are acting together to address climate change and protect habitats and biodiversity for the future. QCC partner Cool Earth is an award-winning UK-based charity that works alongside indigenous villages to halt rainforest destruction.

Project Coordinator Sophie Kisnorbo commented, “The Queen's Commonwealth Canopy is honoured to have been chosen as The Wider Earth's official charitable partner. It is a real privilege to work with The Wider Earth to continue Darwin's legacy.”

The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust is a new charity that champions, funds and connects young leaders across the Commonwealth who are working hard to change the world. The Commonwealth has a vast talent pool of young leaders but their potential is unseen and their skills underused. The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust shares their stories, gives them a platform to amplify their ideas, and inspires other young people to step up and take action. The charity also offers funding, advice and know-how to grow their projects and create a collaborative network of young change-makers. Their work demonstrates the values of the Commonwealth in action, through the leadership, energy and optimism of its young people.

Featuring a cast of seven people and 30 extraordinary hand-crafted puppets representing the exotic wildlife Darwin encountered, The Wider Earth is an ingenious coming-of-age story which celebrates the incredible complexity of our planet and Darwin’s adventurous spirit as he faced perilous environments and unknown dangers on his bold voyage. Written and directed by Dead Puppet Society’s creative director David Morton, the idea for The Wider Earth was conceived at a residency in Cape Town in 2013 with the Handspring Puppet Company – the creative team behind War Horse.

Following sold-out seasons in Brisbane and Sydney, The Wider Earth has found the perfect home at the Natural History Museum. The Museum is custodian to many of the specimens Charles Darwin collected on his expeditions and its 350 scientists continue in his footsteps of exploration and discovery, seeking solutions to the major issues facing the natural world. This is the first time a performance-based theatre has been constructed in the Museum and adds an exciting new element to the wide-range of exhibitions and events which already attract over 4.5 million visitors every year.

The Museum’s scientists, led by paleobiologist Professor Adrian Lister, author of Darwin’s Fossils, have worked closely with the creative producers of the show to ensure it is rooted in authenticity.

The Wider Earth is a partnership project between Trish Wadley Productions, Dead Puppet Society, Glass Half Full Productions in association with Queensland Theatre and the Natural History Museum.

For ticket inquiries please contact: rsvp@thewiderearth.com

To purchase tickets: www.thewiderearth.com

For further information, interviews and images please contact Arabella Neville-Rolfe @ Target Live

arabella.neville-rolfe@target-live.co.uk |02070521301| www.target-live.co.uk

LISTINGS / NOTES TO EDITORS

Tickets: £120

Pre-Show Reception: 6:30pm

Curtain Up: 7:30pm

Location: Jerwood Gallery at the Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, Kensington, London SW7 5BD.

Patrons who will be attending the evening show will be able to access the building through the Queen’s Gate entrance. 

How to get there: The nearest tube station is South Kensington on the District, Piccadilly and Circle lines. The station is approximately five minutes’ walk from the Museum's Exhibition Road entrance. Gloucester Road station also services the above tube lines and is approximately 5 minutes' walk from the Queen's Gate entrance.

Bus routes 14, 49, 70, 74, 345, 360, 414, 430 and C1 stop close to the Museum.

Running time: 2 hours 10 minutes including interval

Twitter   @thewiderearth, @NHM_London, #TheWiderEarth

Dead Puppet Society

Dead Puppet Society is a visual theatre and design company based between Brisbane and New York City. Their most recent production Laser Beak Man (with Brisbane Festival and La Boite) premiered following a two year residency at The New Victory Theater in New York City. The Wider Earth was initially developed at St. Ann's Warehouse and Lincoln Centre, premiered with Queensland Theatre and transferred to the Sydney Opera House for Sydney Festival. Prior to this, the Society worked with Handspring Puppet Company (War Horse) in South Africa and created Argus (Lincoln Center, Kravis Center Florida, Australian National Tour). Previous works include The Harbinger (La Boite Theatre Company Australian National Tour), The Timely Death Of Victory Blott (Metro Arts) and Little Grey Wolf (Brisbane Festival and Adelaide Fringe. The Society has received several awards from The Jim Henson Foundation for the creation of new work and was awarded the Gold Matilda Award in 2017 for their body of work in 2016. They have recently been nominated for six Helpmann Awards for The Wider Earth and Laser Beak Man. 

Trish Wadley Productions

Trish Wadley spent 20 years working internationally in media before moving to theatre and has worked at the Bush Theatre and Tricycle Theatre. For Defibrillator, as Executive Producer, she has produced A Lie Of The Mind (Southwark Playhouse) Speech & Debate (Trafalgar Studios); The Hotel Plays (Grange Hotel and Langham, London); Hard Feelings and The One Day of the Year (Finborough); The Armour (Langham, London) and Insignificance (Langham Place, New York). As producer: Burning Bridges (Theatre503). As co-producer: Olivier-nominated The Red Lion (Trafalgar Studios) and My Night With Reg (Apollo Theatre). Trish is a Stage One Bursary recipient and director of The Uncertainty Principle.  She is also a founder of The Australian & New Zealand Festival of Literature & Arts (FANZA).

Glass Half Full Productions

Glass Half Full Productions is a London-based production company, managed by Gareth Lake and founded by Gareth and Adam Blanshay. UK credits include: 9 to 5: The Musical, Pinter at the Pinter, The Wider Earth, King Lear, Caroline or Change, Glengarry Glen Ross, Daisy Pulls It Off, Oslo, Hamlet, Dreamgirls, Buried Child, Funny Girl, The End of Longing, The Spoils, Doctor Faustus, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, A Christmas Carol, Mack and Mabel, Made in Dagenham, Sunny Afternoon (Winner of four 2015 Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical), The Nether, Shrek UK Tour, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, I Can’t Sing, Ghost Stories, 1984, Ghosts (Winner of three 2014 Olivier Awards, including Best Revival), Mojo. Broadway and US credits include: Network, The Lightning Thief (US National Tour), Groundhog Day, Sunday in the Park with George, Living on Love, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time (Broadway and National Tour), the Globe transfer of Twelfth Night/Richard III. International credits include: Muriel’s Wedding the Musical, Matilda and My Fair Lady in Australia and Blue Man Group World Tour. The GHF team is made up of Gareth Lake (Producer and Co-Founder), Clemmie Forfar (Associate Producer and General Manager), Pamela Jahn (Executive Assistant) and Rebecca Vaa (Production Assistant) in London, and Victoria Weinberg (Associate Producer) and Patrick Roberts (Development Associate) in New York.

The Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum exists to inspire a love of the natural world and unlock answers to the big issues facing humanity and the planet. It is a world-leading science research centre, and through its unique collection and unrivalled expertise it is tackling issues such as food security, eradicating diseases and managing resource scarcity. The Natural History Museum is the most visited natural history museum in Europe and the top science attraction in the UK; we welcome around five million visitors each year and our website receives over 500,000 unique visitors a month. People come from around the world to enjoy our galleries and events and engage both in-person and online with our science and educational activities through innovative programmes and citizen science projects. www.nhm.ac.uk

Contact

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Email: press@nhm.ac.uk