Following the debate about class in our society hosted by Alastair Campbell during the run of Posh, and the debate about the legacy of the Greenham Common feminists during the run of Jumpy, The Royal Court at the Duke of York's season Extras programme continues on Friday 30 November. 'The Making of Constellations' gives an exclusive and rare insight into how this Evening Standard award nominated play was put together by writer Nick Payne.
The panel will include playwright Nick Payne, Steve Benbow a renowned urban beekeeper, who significantly assisted in the research for this production and Professor A C Grayling, patron of Dignity in Dying and internationally renowned philosopher and author.
Constellations, which opened at the Duke of York's Theatre to critical acclaim last week explores the multiverse theory; the idea that each choice a person does or does not make "exists in an unimaginably vast ensemble of parallel universes." Through Marianne, a quantum physicist, and Roland, a bee keeper, the possible courses their lives could take are played out as they meet, part from, fall in love with, betray and love one another forever, all at once.
Steve Benbow is known as 'The Urban Bee Keeper'. He is the founding director of the London Honey Company, a business that produces honey for Harrods, Harvey Nichols and The Savoy, as well as severAl Small delicatessens across London. He also provides training in beekeeping and manages beehives for third-party clients across England. Fifteen years ago Steve decided he wanted to keep bees in Central London. There was only one problem: he lived on the sixth story of an ex-council block near Tower Bridge with no garden. The only outside space was the building's flat roof, accessible via a fire escape. Having located his first hive behind the lift shaft, the bees prospered and produced award-winning honey and his business grew from there. In 2005, he became Beemaster to Fortnum and Mason - managing four ornate hives on the roof of their store in Piccadilly - and he now services hives for The National Portrait Gallery, Tate Modern and Tate Britain, as well as a variety of commercial clients, many of whom sell their honey within their stores. Steve's mission to install beehives across the city has led to him being recognised as both a visionary and an entrepreneur.
Professor Anthony Grayling is Master of the New College of the Humanities, and a Supernumerary Fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford. Until 2011 he was Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London. He has written and edited over thirty books on philosophy and other subjects; among his most recent are "The Good Book", "Ideas That Matter", "Liberty in the Age of Terror" and "To Set Prometheus Free". He is a frequent contributor to national and international print and broadcast media as a journalist and broadcaster. His work for human rights includes acting as representative for the UN Human Rights Council for the International Humanist and Ethical Union. He is a Vice President of the British Humanist Association, the Patron of the United Kingdom Armed Forces Humanist Association, a patron of Dignity in Dying, and an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society.
Anthony Grayling's new book, "The God Argument" will be published in March 2013.
Nick Payne won the prestigious George Devine Award in 2009 with his play If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet. This was produced at the Bush Theatre in October 2009, directed by Josie Rourke and a production of it by the Roundabout Theatre Company is currently playing in New York starring Jake Gyllenhaal. Nick was a member of the Young Writers Programme at the Royal Court and made his debut at the Court in September 2010 with Wanderlust. He is currently under commission at the Donmar Warehouse, the Royal Court and Manhattan Theatre Club. Constellations was nominated for a South Bank Show Award in 2012 and is nominated for Best New Play in the Evening Standard Awards