Organised in partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company
Little Eagles, written by playwright Rona Munro, tells the extraordinary story of Sergei Korolyov, chief designer and unsung hero of the Soviet space programme. Under the leadership of this remarkable man, the USSR trounced the Americans in the space race throughout the fifties and for much of the sixties, achieving a series of firsts including the first human in space and Earth orbit. The 50th anniversary of this first flight by cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, one of Korolyov’s beloved ‘little eagles’, is celebrated this year.
Playwright Rona Munro, Professor of Space Science John Zarnecki and NASA astronaut Dr Piers Sellers will discuss the legacy of the space race and compare the challenges faced by Korolyov with those for space exploration today. They will reflect on this inspirational period of space travel and its impact on science, the arts, and our own human aspirations.
Rona Munro has written extensively for stage, film, radio and television including Iron at the Traverse Theatre Edinburgh, Doctor Who (1989) and the film Ladybird Ladybird directed by Ken Loach (1994). John Zarnecki is Professor of Space Science at Open University and Director of the Centre for Earth, Planetary, Space & Astronomical Research (CEPSAR) with over 30 years experience of space research spanning a number of space missions. Dr Piers Sellers became a NASA Astronaut in 2006. He has taken part in three space flights and has spent 35 days in space, including 6 spacewalks.
Little Eagles is at Hampstead Theatre from 16 April to 7 May 2011. Visit www.rsc.org.uk/london for details.