Genome British Columbia

Genome British Columbia

March 10, 2009 15:16 ET

Theatrical production will spark public scientific ethical debate

Attention: Arts/Entertainment Editor, Assignment Editor, City Editor, Health/Medical Editor, Science Editor VANCOUVER/BC MEDIA RELEASE--(Marketwire - March 10, 2009) - Should humans be cloned? Why or why not? How could cloning impact a person's identity? Does nature or nurture play a more significant role in human development?

These are just a few of the questions that will arise when audiences are treated to Caryl Churchill's A Number - an explosive play about human reproductive cloning performed by Necessary Theatre, as part of UBC's Celebrate Research Week.

A Number is a tightly written, one-hour production featuring two actors that play a father and three cloned sons. Peter Wilson, who plays the multiple sons, is one of Vancouver's fine, up and coming young actors. He was nominated for a Jesse for this performance. Charles Siegel, who plays the father, has acted on Broadway, off-Broadway, and in regional theatres across the United States and Canada. Siegel taught acting for almost 25 years at UBC and was Chair of the Theatre Program.

The show dares audiences to think about the social and ethical issues that surround this issue, as well as other themes such as identity, risk, control and selfishness.

Following each performance, the audience will have the opportunity to participate in a group discussion to investigate the many questions that the play provokes and also explore theatre as a tool for science and technology-related education and dialogue.

Dr. Catherine Anderson, Genome BC's Education Specialist, will facilitate the discussions following the play. "In my experience, these discussions are really positive and interesting. People who are not necessarily aware of the science behind or implications of human cloning find themselves engaged in conversations they wouldn't normally have. The play is a really valuable tool to ignite the dialogue," she says.

Dr. Alan Winter is Genome BC's President & CEO. "Genome BC is pleased to support the staging of A Number because a critical element of responsible genomics research is to explore the ethical, economic, environmental, legal and social issues. This play sparks important discussions that are part of Genome BC's commitment to openness, meaningful dialogue, public outreach and educational leadership," he says.

Dates: Wed. Mar. 11 - Sat. Mar. 14, 2009
Time: Nightly: 7:30 pm and Matinee: Fri. Mar. 13 at 12 noon (Running time 1 Hr followed by discussions)
Location: Dorothy Somerset Studio Theatre, 6361 University Blvd. UBC Campus

Tickets: Tickets Only $5. To Book call 604.822.2678 or email

Discussions to follow the performance, led by Genome BC's Dr. Catherine Anderson, Education Specialist.

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Founded in 2000, Genome BC works collaboratively with government, universities and industry as the catalyst for a genomics-driven life sciences cluster with significant social and economic benefits for the Province and Canada. The organization's research portfolio, over $380 million since inception, includes 60 projects and technology platforms focused on areas of strategic importance to British Columbia such as human health, forestry, fisheries, bioenergy, mining, agriculture, ethics and the environment.
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Additional information about Celebrate Research Week at

Rachael Froese Zamperini, Genome BC 604.291.7616

Deb Pickman, UBC Theatre 604.822.2769 IN: EDUCATION, ENTERTAINMENT, HEALTH

Contact Information

  • Rachael Froese-Zamperini, Communications Consultant
    Primary Phone: 604-291-7616
    Secondary Phone: 604-637-4378