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How Long Can a Truth Be Denied? The Life, Ideas, and Memory of Galileo

February 16, 2019 @ 9:15 am - 4:00 pm

In collaboration with PlayMakers Repertory Company

The Italian scientist Galileo Galilei was condemned by the Roman Catholic Church in the 17th century when he asserted that the earth was not the center of the universe. The German playwright Bertolt Brecht, who saw Galileo’s story as part of an enduring struggle between dogmatic faith and scientific reason, transformed this cultural clash into Life of Galileo (1938)—which PlayMakers Repertory Theater will present as a musical drama in March 2019. This seminar will bring together the dramaturg and director of the PlayMakers’ production with experts on the history of astronomy and the history of musical theater to explore the contemporary significance of this play and the recurring conflicts between dogmatism and new kinds of knowledge.



The Creative Process and Theatrical Challenges of Staging Life of Galileo
Vivienne Benesch, Producing Artistic Director, PlayMakers Repertory Company
Adam Versényi, Dramaturg, Professor, and Chair of Dramatic Art

The Insubordination of Galileo Galilei, a Creative Humanist at Work in the Sciences
J. Christopher Clemens, Senior Associate Dean for Natural Sciences and Jaroslav Folda Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy

Bertolt Brecht, Kurt Weill, Hanns Eisler: New Directions in Political (Musical) Theater
Tim Carter, David G. Frey Distinguished Professor of Music

Science, Drama, and the Contested Search for Truth
A panel discussion with our speakers


9:15am-4:00pm, February 16. The tuition is $125 ($115 until January 18). Tuition for teachers is $62.50 ($57.50 until January 18). Teachers can also receive a $75 stipend after attending (click here for more information) and 10 contact hours for 1 unit of renewal credit. The optional lunch on Saturday is $15.00.

Discounts are available for UNC students, faculty, & staff. See our UNC Student, Staff, & Faculty Discounted Registration Policy here.

Co-Sponsored by the General Alumni Association.

For information about GAA discounts and other scholarships available to Humanities Program participants, click here.

Register here or call us at 919.962.1544. 

Registrants will receive a packet containing background readings, a map to the seminar location, and more about 3-4 weeks before the program date. 

After the program: Attendees can listen to recordings from the event here.


February 16, 2019
9:15 am - 4:00 pm
Event Category:


Chapel Hill Campus
Please Contact Carolina Public Humanities for exact location