STAGE Scientists, Technologists, and Artists Generating Exploration

THE ALTRUISTS, by Craig Baxter

Winner of the 4th STAGE International Script Competition

About the Play

While living on the fringes of Swinging ‘60’s London, American eccentric George Price’s scientific work parallels his personal quest for answers to fundamental questions: How should we live – for ourselves, or for others? And what are the benefits and costs of our choices?

Based on a true story, The Altruists takes us behind the scenes with George Price, Bill Hamilton and John Maynard Smith, whose fundamental work in evolutionary biology in the 1960’s and ‘70’s resonates with today’s investigations into fields ranging from social networking to cell behavior and beyond.

About the Playwright

Craig Baxter

Craig Baxter divides his professional time between playwriting and scientific publishing (currently for the International Glaciological Society).

In recent years, Craig’s plays have drawn on overtly scientific material. Let Newton Be, a verbatim play with a script drawn entirely from contemporary papers and letters to, from, or about Isaac Newton, focuses on the collision between Newton’s unorthodox religious beliefs and his scientific trailblazing. Commissioned by the Faraday Institute and produced by Menagerie Theatre Company, it premiered at Trinity College, Cambridge in 2009 and will tour in the U.K. and the U.S. in spring, 2011.

Re: Design is a verbatim dramatization of the correspondence between Charles Darwin and the Harvard botanist, Asa Gray. The play was commissioned by the Darwin Correspondence Project, produced by Menagerie, and has been performed since 2008 in the U.K., the U.S., Canada, Turkey and, in translation, in Berlin and Madrid.

Like Confessing a Murder, a verbatim dramatization of the letters between Charles and Emma Darwin, was broadcast on the BBC World Service during the week of Darwin’s bicentenary in February 2009.

Productions of Craig’s other plays include Hard Sell (Menagerie at the Pleasance, Edinburgh, and Theatre 503, London); The Ministry of Pleasure (Latchmere, London; also published by Oberon Books); Monogamy (Pursued by a Bear Productions at the Riverside Studios, London); The Animals (Pursued by a Bear Productions at St. Andrews Theatre, Dublin); a trilogy of plays commissioned by Arc Theatre (Big Bang, published by Carel Press; Relics; and Spearcarriers); Taking Liberties (Trespass, Cambridge Drama Centre); St James and the Tattoo Man (London New Play Festival at the Old Red Lion, London); and The Thrill of the Chaste (Poor Fools, Scotland).

Two of these plays, The Thrill of the Chaste and Monogamy, were adapted by Craig for broadcast on BBC Radio 4. He has been both a scriptwriter and script consultant on true crime drama documentaries (Crimewatch File and Trail of Guilt) for BBC TV.

Plays for young audiences include a current commission from Classworks Theatre to adapt The Curriculum Vitae of Aurora Ortiz by Almudena Solana; The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson; Maisie Middleton by Nita Sowter (Cambridge Children’s Festival); and, in collaboration with Anna Reynolds, Tales from the Crows’ Nest by Fraser Grace and Paddy Fletcher.

He has also worked as a dramaturge to young writers, and has spoken to academic audiences about his science plays at the Universities of Aarhus, Cambridge, Oxford, and Harvard.

Craig holds a B.S. in zoology from Sheffield University and an M.A. in playwriting from Birmingham University. He lives in Cambridge, U.K. with his wife Cathy and their two young sons, Joey and Nat.