Play Challenges Students to Think About Stem Cell Research

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A new play challenging young people to explore the scientific and ethical implications of stem cell research is to be performed at the University of Worcester.

Little Miracles will give students the opportunity to engage in hands-on activities such as microscopy of blood with lecturers from the University.

It has been created by the Biochemical Society Theatre in collaboration with the acclaimed Islington Community and with Islington Young Carers, and was written by award-winning playwright Joy Wilkinson.

The story has been developed through a series of exploratory workshops with young people, including young people with caring responsibilities, and in consultation with scientists and theatre-makers.

The play will be performed in the University’s Charles Darwin building from June 7-10. Schoolchildren and college students from across the region have been invited to attend with a special session before and after the play to provide some more scientific background, discuss the ethics behind the issues of stem cell research and offer a short hands-on session to allow the attendees to make use of the excellent new scientific facilities at the University.

Susanna Prankel, Senior Lecturer in Biology, said: “The particular medium of a play presents school and college students with a different approach to introduce them to controversial scientific issues. The play will be combined with discussions with senior lecturers from the University of Worcester and the opportunity to use our state-of-the-art lab space. We hope that this will inspire students to be more confident to actively engage with scientific topics and introduce them to a side of Higher Education that they might not have expected.”

The play follows the story of Ayesha, a miracle baby, whose mother used IVF to conceive her. As Ayesha grows up, her mother grows ill with dementia and Ayesha is determined to find a cure to save her. She becomes a stem cell researcher and grapples with the scientific and ethical implications.

Last year the University’s science department hosted a play called Hive9, which explored evolution and creationism.