Our philosophy plays were written by Rev Dr Wally Shaw, a teacher and philosopher, as a study aid for those wanting to learn about philosophers David Hume, Adam Smith, Jeremy Bentham and Socrates.

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philosophy plays at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe


The answer to these and many more questions about this enlightenment philosopher can be found at a significant location during the Festival Fringe. Bentham took one word from David Hume - “utility” - and, using it, became the founder of international law. Indeed, he coined the word “international”.

Following the successes of the Fringe presentations David Hume – Citizen of the World followed by Socrates – Last Days and Legacy at the 2006 and 2007 Fringes, Jeremy Bentham – the Pursuit of Happiness will continue to provide the relevance for today of some of the world’s most enlightened thinkers.

The presentations of Bentham, which last 80 minutes, are on the first three Sundays of the Fringe: August 5 at 5.00 (World Premier), 12 at 5.00 and 19 at 7.30. All presentations are at artSpace, St. Mark’s Unitarian Church, Castle Terrace.

This existential, authentic and relevant docu-drama on the life and teachings of Jeremy Bentham allows members of the audience to identify with their own quest for happiness and for peace through justice in the world.

Growing up on the estate where the radical poet, John Milton, had lived in Westminster, London, why and how did Bentham determine to transform the suffering in his own life and that of his world from Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained?

We observe Bentham’s relationship with his mother, father and brother, with William Shelburne (the Prime Minister) and his wife, with William Pitt (who was Chancellor before he became Prime Minister), with John Bowring (his secretary), with John Stuart Mill (his young follower), with Prince Talleyrand (who brought about the demise of Napoleon), with William Wilberforce (who campaigned for the abolition of slavery) and with the Rev. Dr. Thomas Southward Smith (another friend with whom he coined the phrase “the Pursuit of Happiness”).

The Rev. Dr. Smith eventually became the minister of St. Mark’s Unitarian Church, with its present congregation providing the venue for this docu-drama, thus relating St. Mark’s directly to this Fringe Production. The historical relationship itself symbolises Edinburgh as the city of enlightenment and, indeed, its Festival Fringe as a place for the Pursuit of Happiness.

The Radicals (Radical Enlightenmentarians), are an inclusive drama group that welcomes all, regardless of background. All performances begin with the four words on the mace in the Scottish Parliament (WISDOM-JUSTICE-COMPASSION-INTEGRITY) and end with the unfolding of the UN flag.


Our Philosophy Lessons and Play on Philosopher Jeremy Bentham

We have had great feedback on our philosophy plays as an aid to learn philosophy either by yourself or as part of a study group. We also have favourable reviews of these plays when we performed them during the 5 years of performances at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, including our play on the Philosopher Jeremy Bentham. Please see our webpage on Jeremy Bentham Philosophy, life and legacy.

Our philosophy plays, including the play on Philospoher Jeremy Bentham, are suitable for use in university philosophy, college & high school philosophy or as a school class. We have notes on how to use these philosopohy plays during your philosophy lesson.

Please feel free to contact us should you have any questions.

If you have found our "Philosopher Jeremy Bentham Press Release" for our Edinburgh Festival Fringe production valuable then please see our notes on how to use our philosophy plays, philosophy lessons and philosophy activities in your class.

Living Philosophy for plays, activities and teaching philosophy lessons.
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