Susan, a science teacher from Manhattan, starts work in a school in a small,
rural Kansas town that’s been ripped apart by a tornado. When one of her pupils – the damaged, articulate Micah – takes offence at an off-the-cuff remark about how life on earth began, Susan is thrown into an ethical storm about science and faith that leads to her fearing for her safety.

Sharp, thoughtful and mysterious, HOW THE WORLD BEGAN is a powerful story about an outsider in a close-knit, devastated community.

Directed by Des Kennedy, winner of Out of Joints Director Award. Catherine Trieschmanns play Crooked was performed at the Bush in 2006.


“Faith and science collide in one small room, and sparks fly spectacularly in this drama by the American writer Catherine Trieschmann. The scorching production by Des Kennedy, winner of Out of Joint’s Directing Award, sends stars and meteors streaming across the ceiling .. The play is gripping, disturbing and relevant… and is acted with ferocity.” THE TIMES ★★★★

“All the precision and thrill of a courtroom drama… Intelligent empathy and dispassionate observation…Excellently directed by Des Kennedy… Utterly convincing.” THE ARTS DESK

“A lovely piece… deserves full houses throughout the run.” BRITISH THEATRE GUIDE

“Des Kennedy handles the material skilfully.” EXEUNT

“There is a thrumming undercurrent of menace to How The World Began…A thought-worm of a play to be mulled over hours after the applause has stopped. Well worth a look.” WHATSONSTAGE

“Tightly written… Engaging and well-delivered… extremely relevant… Well worth watching” A YOUNGER THEATRE

“A gripping three-hander… Snappily directed by Des Kennedy…Anna Francolini is superb.” GUARDIAN


TALKS AND DISCUSSIONS (free after the performance)

Wed 16 Nov: How Life on Earth Began
Scientists and theologians discuss theories on the origins of life.

Wed 23 Nov: Please Stand for Morning Prayer…
Should faith and belief be practised freely in our schools, workplaces, government
agencies and guest houses?

Wed 30 Nov: A Vengeful God?
Earthquakes, tornados and tsunamis. Where is God in all of this?

Wed 7 Dec: Science is my God!
Are atheists hypocritical for condemning the faith of the religious, yet having an
equally strong faith in the power of science?




Tom Atkins presents the European Premiere of
by Catherine Trieschmann

Director Des Kennedy
Designer Alyson Cummins
Lighting Designer Mark Howland
Sound Designer Paul Millen
Video Designer Ben Gutteridge

Cast: Anna Francolini, Ciaran McIntyre and Perry Millward

How The World Began is supported by Out of Joint, the Arcola Theatre, Arts Council England and the Royal Victoria Hall Foundation