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New play invites you to immerse yourself in the moral maze of science

Actors rehearse for Invincible

Press release issued: 13 February 2017

A ground-breaking new theatre production, to be premiered in Bristol, will plunge audiences into a moral dilemma examining the role – good and bad – science can play in our lives.

Invincible, which takes place at a secret location in Clifton between 21 February and 4 March, uses immersive theatre to address some of the issues raised by the emerging field of synthetic biology and whether scientists should ‘play God’.

It’s a collaboration between the University of Bristol’s BrisSynBio research centre, the University’s playwriting fellow, David Lane, and theatre company Kilter, which specialises in creating unique and pioneering experiences which encourage debate.

The performancetakes place with small audiences at ‘point-blank range’ in the confines of a real residential flat and focuses on three women from three different generations as the political and scientific become intensely personal.

Synthetic biology is the design and construction of new biological entities such as enzymes, genetic circuits, and cells or the redesign of existing biological systems.  

The University of Bristol is a world leader in the field thanks to its BrisSynBio research centre, which is funded predominantly by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), and aims to tackle important questions of global significance, such as making new vaccines or improving the yield of staple crops.

Dr Kathleen Sedgley, BrisSynBio Scientific Manager, said: “Invincible is scientifically robust, elegant, funny and extremely moving. At BrisSynBio we are committed to exploring the societal and ethical considerations around synthetic biology. This personal and completely immersive experience has shown us how these theoretical concepts could play out in real life, affecting everyday people.”

Invincible has been delivered thanks to a grant awarded by the EU to open up the new science of synthetic biology to more public scrutiny and debate.

Oliver Langdon, Co-director of Kilter, said: “Kilter has been making pioneering site-based work for nearly a decade, responding to issues drawn from the rapidly changing world. As well as entertaining our audiences, we constantly strive to educate, engage and empower. Invincible is no exception.  We hope audiences will leave our secret performance venue with an unshakable urge to get involved in every conversation around emerging science and technology.”

A number of tickets are free for schools and will be allocated to young people aged 13 to 18, studying Science, Drama, Philosophy and Ethics.

Caroline Garland, Co-director of Kilter, said: “In order to get to grips with the enormity of the subject, our creative team embarked on a behind the scenes introduction to the ground-breaking principles of SynBio, and the knife-edge debates around its ethics. Meeting with scientists, bio-ethicists, philosophers and funders, we have worked with several groups of devising theatre-makers to explore ways in which we could make a piece of theatrical dynamite, which simultaneously educates and promotes discussion.”

Tickets and performance times

Performances take place between Tuesday 21 February and Saturday 4 March in a secret location in Clifton, Bristol. Standard tickets are £10 or concession tickets are £5. For further information and booking visit the Kilter website.

To enquire about the ‘schools only’ free performances between Tuesday 21 February and Friday 3 March, please contact Sarah at

Further information

About BrisSynBio

BrisSynBio is a multi-disciplinary research centre that focuses on the biomolecular design and engineering aspects of synthetic biology, and has been established as one of six Synthetic Biology Research Centres in the UK.  BrisSynBio is funded predominantly by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), and has a number of other academic, industrial and public-facing partners.‌

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