mathematics and theatre

Alan Turing – brilliant mathematician, code breaker during World War II – achieved so much during his tragically short life. But how do you put Turing's life and mathematics on stage... and as a musical?
We talk about a play that explores the fascinating mathematical collaboration between the mathematicians GH Hardy and Srinivasa Ramanujan.
Torn between mathematics and the arts? Then find out about having a career in both from actor and mathematician Victoria Gould.

It's not often you see a maths professor reduced to zero on stage and then stuffed into a bag. But this is exactly what happened to Marcus du Sautoy at the Science Museum — and by means of a mathematical argument at that. Only du Sautoy wasn't being himself of course. He was playing the role of X in the new play, X&Y.

Mathematics and theatre are both imagined things that need to be consistent. So what better way to explore mathematical ideas than through theatre? We talk to Marcus du Sautoy, Victoria Gould and Dermot Keany about their new show, X&Y.

Alan Turing was a mathematician and WWII code breaker who was convicted of homosexuality in the 1950s, chemically castrated as a result, died young in mysterious circumstances and still hasn't received all the recognition
he deserves. His life clearly makes great material for a play — but a musical? We talk to the directors and lead actor of The Universal Machine.

Victoria Gould has always known she would be an actor, and went straight from studying arts at school to running her own theatre company. But she eventually had to come clean about her guilty secret - she loves maths - and has since managed to combine a career as a research mathematician and teacher with a successful acting career on television and in theatre. She tells Plus why she needs to use both sides of her brain.
Mathematics takes to the stage with A disappearing number, a work by Complicite, inspired by the mathematical collaboration of Hardy and Ramanujan. Rachel Thomas went to see the play, and explains some of the maths. You can also read her interview with Victoria Gould about how the show was created.
  • Want facts and want them fast? Our Maths in a minute series explores key mathematical concepts in just a few words.