Inventive Darwin comes to Edison Theatre May 8

ovations for young people presents heart-warming dinosaur story by CORBIAN Visual Arts and Dance

Ian Carney and Corbin Popp of CORBIAN Visual Arts and Dance, which brings the heart-warming multimedia tale Darwin to Edison Theatre May 8 as part of the ovations for young people series. Download high-res image.

Darwin is a magical dinosaur, built from scratch in the workshop of kindly Professor Henslow. But Darwin also is a wild creature that must tame his primitive instincts by learning love and compassion.

Welcome to Darwin, an inventive and heart-warming multimedia performance by CORBIAN Visual Arts and Dance. On Saturday, May 8, this cutting-edge company — which employs electroluminescent wire against a blackout setting to create glowing, crayon-like creatures that light up the stage — will bring Darwin to Washington University’s Edison Theatre as part of the ovations for young people series.

The special one-time-only matinee performance begins at 11 a.m. Tickets are $10 and are available at the Edison Theatre Box Office and through all MetroTix outlets. Edison Theatre is located in the Mallinckrodt Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd.

For more information, call (314) 935-6543 or e-mail


Darwin the dinosaur. Download high-res image.

Darwin is the brainchild of CORBIAN founders and co-artistic directors Ian Carney and Corbin Popp, who spent four years perfecting the show’s mix of puppetry, dance, storytelling and do-it-yourself technology.

Working mostly with common household objects — such as skateboards, shinguards and paint poles — the pair crafted roughly 20 life-size puppets, ranging from dinosaurs and giant birds to fish, turtles and people. Then, to create the show’s stunning visual affects, they outfitted the puppets with approximately 2,000 feet of electroluminescent wire, powered by approximately 250 decidedly low-tech AA and 9-volt batteries.

“The glow light and duct tape ingenuity of Darwin the Dinosaur is the kind of magic-on-a-shoestring that is only possible in the theater,” writes the New York Post. “You can’t get this at the movies or in a DVD. Taking your kids to see Darwin the Dinosaur teaches them why live theater will never go extinct.”

The story begins with Professor Henslow, a famous scientist possessed of magical powers, in his workshop, putting together his latest project. Then, with a wave of Henslow’s magic wand, Darwin is brought to life. But Darwin is not a pet — he is a dinosaur, one who nearly succumbs to his predatory nature.

To teach Darwin compassion, the professor makes Darwin a heart and sends the young dinosaur out to explore the world. With fireflies guiding him through the night, Darwin soon encounters many different types of creatures, including Verla, the gangly ostrich; Peche, the beautiful fish; and Brutus, the menacing red Tyrannosaurus Rex.

With each adventure, Darwin learns something new about the nature of good and bad, love and hate, friends and enemies. But when Brutus threatens Professor Henslow, Darwin is forced to make a fateful decision that will alter his life forever and ultimately lead him to discover the true meaning of love.

“(Darwin) is a wonderful hour of fantasy that combines ancient, wordless storytelling with modern technology and music — both orchestral and pop,” writes the Los Angeles Times. “From the audience response, Darwin has made future theater visits an easy sale — for all ages. And that’s evolution our culture needs more of.”

Edison Theatre

Founded in 1973, the Edison Theatre OVATIONS Series serves both Washington University and the St. Louis community by providing the highest caliber national and international artists in music, dance and theater, performing new works as well as innovative interpretations of classical material not otherwise seen in St. Louis.

Edison Theatre programs are made possible with support from the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency; the Regional Arts Commission, St. Louis; and private contributors. The OVATIONS Season is supported by The Mid-America Arts Alliance with generous underwriting by the National Endowment for the Arts and foundations, corporations and individuals throughout Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.

Calendar Summary

WHO: CORBIAN Visual Arts and Dance

WHAT: Darwin

WHEN: 11 a.m. Saturday, May 8

WHERE: Edison Theatre, Washington University, Mallinckrodt Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd.

TICKETS: $10; Available through the Edison Theatre Box Office, (314) 935-6543, and all MetroTix outlets

SPONSOR: Edison Theatre ovations for young people series