The Ethics of Progress (2007-2020)

The thing about the future is, by the time it happens, it’s already too late…..

Co-written by Clare Duffy, J Spooner and Chris Thorpe in consultation with Professor Vlatko Vedral.

The Ethics of Progress was first produced in 2007 as a mind-melting, jargon-free, whistle stop tour of leading edge Quantum Physics in which J Spooner told the story of how his understanding of the world and everything in was radically altered by conversations with Professor Vlatko Vedral who was at the time Professor of Quantum Information at the University of Leeds.

Originally co-produced with Leeds Met Studio Theatre and Oxford Playhouse, the show was loved by audiences, received huge critical acclaim and toured extensively in the UK and overseas.

” Mind-blowing stuff ” The Scotsman
” I went in with a heavy heart thinking the subject would be over my head. I came out wanting to help change the world. Brilliant. ”
The Guardian

This video of the full show was recorded by 59 productions at The Underbelly at the Edinburgh Festival in 2008

The Ethics of Progress v1.0 toured extensively in the UK and overseas from 2007-2012.
Directed by Amy Hodge
Stage Design by Alex Kelly
Video Design by Mic Pool
Stage Management by Lucy Wilson

In 2020, J was invited to rejoin Vlatko and his colleague Chiara Marletto as a Visiting Scholar at Oxford University’s Wolfson College. His task – to help tell the story of their work with the Quantum Hub as they try to unify the Classical and Quantum worlds in a “Theory of Everything”. But almost immediately the COVID-19 pandemic just everything down and out plans were forced to change.

During lockdown J developed an idea for a new and spectacularly updated show “for live performance in theatres and a simultaneous, uniquely designed online broadcast experience. Working with some of the UK’s leading stage, sound, lighting and video designers each experience (live and online) to stunningly explore the imagined, actual, ethical, political, religious and philosophical impacts of the latest developments in Quantum Physics including ‘post show’ Q&A’s with some of the world’s leading quantum physicists. There will also be jokes.”

We livestreamed a work in progress performance December 2020 (video below) but further development was hindered by the pandemic continuing longer than expected and the performing arts scene suffering hard. With theatres closed and no-one commissioning new work, we turned our attention to working online and outdoors with the Unlimited Space Agency. The work in progress gives you a good idea of where we were headed though…

Directed & Written by J Spooner
Performed by Brian Duffy & J Spooner
Stage Design & Visual Dramaturgy by Rhys Jarman
Video & Lighting by Nina Dunn, Josh Pharo & Sarah Readman
Sound Design by Elena Pena
Original Music by David Edwards
Production Management by Helen Mugridge
Stage Management by Simon Perkins
With special thanks to: Alim Jayda, Luigi Sardi, Viktor Palfi, Oxford University’s Wolfson College, Arts Council England, White Light Ltd, Hawthorne Sound Hire, Notch