Genetic Alliance UK in Wales:

Education: Boy Genius: Educational theatre-in-education project about genetics and mental health for young people

In 2007, Genetic Alliance UK worked in partnership with the Wales Gene Park and with Gwent Theatre Company to produce a novel project that combined art and science with theatre for school and college students to explore the area of genetics and nature of human identity. Boy Genius was funded by a Society Award grant from the Wellcome Trust. 

Developed for young people between the ages of 14 to 18, the play examined how much of our behaviour and personality can be attributed to our genetic make-up and to what extent are we determined by our genes.  Boy Genius took place outside the school environment and over a full day; participants the audience were framed as peer mediators and given the opportunity to investigate the set of the drama installation, ask their own questions to the characters, debate their and other peoples' opinions and encouraged to be creative in expressing their views through discussion, drama and art. The production toured for ten weeks across Wales during Winter  Spring 2007, reaching 1000 young people. 

The evaluation of the project found that responses from students and teachers have been very positive and it also received acclaimed reviews in the Western Mail newspaper and through the Theatre Forum website on its original and exciting method of tackling complex subjects with young people.  A copy of the evaluation report may be downloaded, and a short film about the production and its participants may also be viewed. 

If you would like further information about this project, please contact Buddug Williams.

Participants creating the mind maps

Participants in discussion with members of the cast