X&Y on World at One

February 15, 2016

When we staged our play X&Y at the Science Museum in 2013 the BBC’s World at One came to find out what our show was all about. You can listen to the piece here entitled “How algebraic variables are being turned into human characters”.


X&Y, Science Museum, dress rehearsal 9 October 2013 Marcus du Sautoy Victoria Gould Commissioned by Ali Fraser


It’s all about … timing.

February 14, 2016


One of the very atmospheric components of the Vault Festival at Waterloo is the sound of the trains rumbling in and out of the station overhead during the shows. But for our play X&Y they aren’t just atmosphere but an absolutely key component of the drama. In fact the precision that we require to time a sequence of lines in the play to coincide with the departure of the 19:07 to Mortlake has been absolutely crucial to an important twist in the plot. If South West Trains are late…then we’re stuck there improvising until it rolls overhead. Audiences so far have been very impressed with both South West Trains punctuality and the way we’ve incorporated the trains into the drama. As with the best theatre, it’s all about…timing.


X&Y at Vault Festival



February 11, 2016

The Vaults Festival in London – the biggest arts festival in the city – features a new version of X&Y with an extra twist – literally – at the end of the show. Marcus and Victoria perform seven shows in the very atmospheric Pit venue with trains rumbling in and out of Waterloo overhead – an interruption that they have cleverly worked into the play. Running from 10-14 February. Directed by Dermot Keaney. Music by Stephen Hiscock.


We’ve prepared a mathematical crib sheet for the show for you to download and enjoy.


June 4, 2014



No it isn’t Coldplay headlining the Pyramid stage but Twin Primes production of X&Y coming to the Astrolabe Theatre at the Glastonbury Festival. Created in collaboration with Complicite and the Science Museum, Marcus du Sautoy and Victoria Gould will be performing each afternoon at the Festival. Forget Pyramids and come and check out hypercubes in this rollercoaster ride to the edges of the universe.



June 4, 2014

X&Y played to two sell-out crowds at this year’s Hay Festival. Marcus tells us about the experience of bringing the piece to Hay:

“Usually at Hay I turn up with a book and stride on stage and the show begins, but this year has been slightly different. Hours have been spent behind the scenes in the venue building a huge nine-foot white cube. This wasn’t any old cube. We needed a cube in the fourth dimension. Or at least its shadow in our three-dimensional world.

This year at Hay I had the chance to perform the play, ‘X&Y’, that I have been devising with actress Victoria Gould and director Dermot Keaney, with help from award-winning theatre company Complicité and the Science Museum. It is the play I talked about in a session I did here two years ago on Mathematics and Theatre so it is great to be able to show the Hay audience the result of those early ideas.

As the audience poured in, they were greeted not by an author and a book but by a mathematician performing a Platonic dance of the proof of the irrationality of the square root of 2.

Probably a first for Hay and for mathematics.”




X&Y goes public!

September 16, 2013

Come and explore the shape of the universe with X&Y.


After an exciting period of development at the Science Museum in the spring, X&Y is going live to the public. Tickets are currently on sale for a run of shows at the Science Museum in London 10-16 October


followed by shows at MOSI as part of the Manchester Science Festival.


There will be post-show talks with Marcus du Sautoy and Victoria Gould at the evening shows on Sunday 13 and Tuesday 15 October.


Following a four week research and development period, the Science Museum and Complicite are presenting a work-in-progress performance of their new co-production with Twin Primes Theatre in the IMAX Theatre at the Science Museum on Friday 15 March 2013.

In this new show, Marcus du Sautoy and Victoria Gould use maths and the theatre to explore the known and unknown reaches of our universe. Design is by Lucy Osborne.  

The performance begins at 18.30 and is by invitation – if you would like to attend please email email@complicite.org for more info. 

What is the shape of the universe? Is it finite or infinite? Does it have an edge?

In their new show x & y Marcus du Sautoy and Victoria Gould use mathematics and the theatre to navigate the known and unknown reaches of our world.

Through a series of surreal episodes, x and y, trapped in a world they don’t understand and confronted for the first time with another human being, tackle some of the biggest philosophical and scientific questions on the books: where did the universe come from, does time have an end, is there something on the other side, do we have free will, can we ever prove anything about our universe for sure or is there always room for another surprise?

You can find x & y in the Literary Salon at Latitude Festival, Saturday 14 June at 5.45pm