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23rd April 2014, 12:11pm
Lincoln welcomes world premiere of acclaimed scientist’s new play
Professor Carl Djerassi The acclaimed scientist who synthesised the first oral contraceptive pill will present the world-first viewing of his newest play as part of a major international conference hosted by the University of Lincoln, UK.

Professor Carl Djerassi is one of the world’s most celebrated scientists, best known for the invention of the contraceptive pill - an achievement which made him the only living person to be included in The Sunday Times list of the ‘Thirty Men of the Millennium’, alongside William Shakespeare and Albert Einstein. Professor Djerassi has won the National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology for his work, as well as receiving 32 honorary doctorates from around the world. In recent years, he has also become a celebrated author and playwright in the field of science performance.  

Professor Djerassi, who is 90 years old this year and currently Emeritus Professor of Chemistry at Stanford University in America, will be in Lincoln to attend an exclusive preview performance of his newest production, Foreplay, prior to its official premiere in London a week later.

The play, which is produced and directed by Andy Jordan, Senior Lecturer at the University of Lincoln’s School of Performing Arts, will show at the Lincoln Performing Arts Centre (LPAC) on Friday 25th April 2014. Set in the 1960s, Foreplay is the ninth production created by Professor Djerassi and Andy Jordan, and explores the jealousies of Hannah Arendt, Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno; all intellectual giants of the early 20th century.

The performance will mark the culmination of the University’s three-day Performing Science: Dialogues Across Cultures conference. Hosted by Andy Jordan, the conference aims to break new ground by bringing together leading scholars and internationally-renowned practitioners in the fields of both science and performance.

Professor Djerassi will deliver a keynote talk at the conference as well as a public lecture, to be held as part of the University’s Great Minds series of events. Entitled The Demise of Contraception: Sex in an Age of Art, Professor Djerassi’s public talk will take place on Wednesday 23 April, and will review the enormous societal consequences that followed the introduction of the pill in the early 1960s.

Speaking ahead of the conference, Andy Jordan said: “Having Professor Djerassi here at the University provides conference delegates and the people of Lincoln with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet the man behind the revolutionary ‘pill’, and to hear his thoughts on contraception and Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). We are delighted that he is able to join us at our conference, and are pleased to be able to present an exclusive preview of his latest theatre play here in Lincoln.”

“The Science and Performance conference aims to bring together academic scholars from humanistic and scientific backgrounds. The performing arts are embracing science as never before, and we hope to pave the way for a comprehensive overview of science-performance, both in its contemporary and historical forms.”

Playwright, novelist and journalist, Michael Frayn, and Professor Robert Marc Friedman from the University of Oslo will also deliver keynote talks, and the conference will include a series of workshops, performances, play-readings and screenings.

Tickets for Foreplay on Friday 25th April are available from the LPAC via or 01522 837600, and are priced at £5 for students, £10 for concessions and £12 for adults.

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