Part talk, part research project, part contemporary music performance, Minerva Scientifica – Miriam Rothschild begins by posing the following question: how many female scientists and composers can you name? The answer, unfortunately, appears to be not too many. This quick piece of research (conducted there and then between those present) frames the following hour as urgent and essential viewing. The audience learn about the eminent entomologist Miriam Rothschild and her important research into fleas, her later work on wildflowers/the garden and her championing of animals and insects as equals. Initially the audience is introduced to her life and work anecdotally and through interview (there is a singer, a composer and an entomologist on stage). Then a composition of around thirty minutes is shared. The libretto of this is made up of words taken from Miriam Rothschild’s written works and is accompanied by the composer (now dressed as a flea) on bass clarinet. Before leaving the space everyone present is informally invited to look at a real flea through a microscope and also given some Miriam Rothschild recommended reading.
Minerva Scientifica is an evolving music-theatre programme reflecting the loves and works of British Women Scientists, told through the music of British Women Composers.
The project has resonances with the largely forgotten female naturalist Elizabeth Brightwen’s story, who was also an advocate of treating animals and insects with respect, recently captured in Rambles with Nature. (SG)
MINERVA SCIENTIFICA – MIRIAM ROTHSCHILD, Electric Voice Theatre, Valvona & Crolla (Venue 67). Other performances focusing on different women scientists continue until August 23rd. Hearing Loop available, Wheelchair Accessible toilets. May not apply to all performances, please contact venue for full accessibility details. https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/minerva-scientifica-miriam-rothschild
Miriam Rothschild: http://www.theguardian.com/news/2005/jan/22/guardianobituaries.obituaries
Sheila Ghelani, Rambles with Nature – Ramble 1, a series of cine-poems in collaboration with straybird, is at Forest Fringe until August 30th. http://www.sheilaghelani.co.uk/rambles-with-nature/ http://forestfringe.co.uk/edinburgh2015/artists/sheila-ghelani-with-straybird/
Shit Theatre’s show Women’s Hour investigates women and feminism http://www.shittheatre.co.uk/womens-hour.html
The invisibility of females within ‘the canon’ is not only true in science but also artists. See Brown Council’s Remembering Barbara Cleveland: http://browncouncil.com/works/remembering-barbara-cleveland#1
New Scientist articles about 10 female scientists we should all know: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/ten-historic-female-scientists-you-should-know-84028788/?no-ist