Huxley’s Lab


Informatics Department, University of Edinburgh

Huxley’s Lab was a major co-production between Grid Iron and inclusive theatre specialists Lung Ha’s.

Tackling the controversial subject of our contemporary slide into eugenics, the piece, written by Ben Harrison and inspired by Aldous Huxley’s dystopian fiction Brave New World, involved a cast of thirty from both companies.

Huxley’s Lab animated the sparkling new spaces of the Informatics Forum at the University of Edinburgh, from a huge atrium to lecture theatres to rooftop garden.

The piece presents a world run by the Perfecters, under the gaze of Professor Huxley himself, in which natural childbirth has been banned and a strict caste system operates, created from birth in a test tube: DomServs, Labrobots, Measurers and Perfecters. The Naturals, who do not subscribe or who are not allowed into the world of ‘perfection’ live on the roof, have children and are often experimented on.

Inspired by the medieval spirit of the buffon and drawing extensively on co-director Maria Oller’s Gaulier training, the Naturals become a joyous but dangerous counterpoint to the suffocating world of pneumatic perfection propagated by the followers of Huxley.

Created over weekly workshops since September 2009, two intensive script development weeks and five weeks of rehearsal, Huxley’s Lab continued Grid Iron’s policy of making controversial work out in the real world and addressing areas of huge contemporary significance.