The Life of Galileo

The Life of Galileo

by Bertolt Brecht

translated by David Hare

Directed by Colin Macnee

Date & Time: 27-31 March 2018

7.30pm (8pm Friday) +2:30pm Saturday matinee

Venue: Oxford Playhouse, Beaumont Street, Oxford

Book tickets

What price the truth?

Galileo advocates the heretical view that the earth revolves around the sun, rather than standing motionless at the centre of all creation. He faces imprisonment and torture at the hands of the Inquisition as a consequence. He is forced to weigh self-preservation against his mission to establish a new age of science.

Brecht’s masterpiece provides powerful drama laced with wry humour. It deals in an accessible way with grand themes, setting them in the context of the emotional relationships of the protagonists caught up in the conflict between dogma and science. It has seldom been more timely as we find ourselves in a ‘post-truth’ era in which ideology is increasingly favoured over facts.

OTG returns to the Playhouse with a striking production of this classic, translated by one of our greatest contemporary playwrights.

Pre-show talk: 'The many Galileos'

Thursday 29th March at 5-6pm at Oxford Playhouse

Admission free (reserve tickets at

Who was Galileo Galilei? Mathematician, philosopher or courtier? Martyr of science, heretic or secular saint? His astronomical discoveries brought him contemporary celebrity while the long shadow of his condemnation has given him continuing cultural currency. This talk explores the many interpretations of Galileo – including those by Brecht – and shows how these changing images reveal as much about us as him.

Dr Stephen Johnston is Head of Research, Teaching and Collections at the Museum of the History of Science, University of Oxford. He will bring some Galilean telescopes to allow audience members to see the world as Galileo did.


Matt Blurton — Federzoni; Citizen

Paul Clifford — Philosopher; Cardinal Bellarmin; Citizen

Julius Ford Clough — Andrea Sarti as a boy (Tues, Thurs, Sat mat)

Richard Coggins — First Clerk; Cosimo de Medici as a man; Crier; Frontier Guard

Nadia Dawber — Second Clerk; Crier; Frontier Guard; Citizen

Chris Edwards — Senator; Astronomer; Vanni

Tim Eyres — Chamberlain; Clavius; Official; Monk

Tobias Forbes — Andrea Sarti as a man; Citizen

Gavin Gaughan — Mathematician; Man; Peasant

Tom Hare-Duke — Cardinal Inquisitor

Edward Hughes — Cosimo de Medici as a boy (Wed, Fri, Sat eve)

Jonathan Kay — Sagredo; Guard; Citizen

Noah Kerciku — Andrea Sarti as a boy (Wed, Fri, Sat eve)

Freya Klinger — Second Monk; Papal Attendant; Crier; Citizen

Tomas Mason — Ludovico Marsili; Citizen

Elizabeth McHale — Signora Sarti; Citizen

Nick Quartley — Cardinal Barberini, later Pope Urban VIII

Kirsty Ralston — First Monk; Papal Attendant; Citizen

Richard Readshaw — Galileo Galilei

Isaac Sallé — Cosimo de Medici as a boy (Tues, Thurs, Sat mat)

Eloise Sheffield — Virginia, Galileo’s daughter

Edward Smith — Fulganzio, ‘the little monk’; Citizen

Andrew Whiffin — Chancellor Priuli; Very Old Cardinal; Citizen