Stage show out to stir up debate about political extremism

A critically-acclaimed Scotsman Fringe First Award-winning show at 2014's Edinburgh Festival can be seen at Berwick's Maltings this month.

Thursday, 18th February 2016, 1:22 pm
Chris Thorpe, who will appear in Confirmation at Berwick Maltings

Confirmation pairs writer and performer Chris Thorpe with artistic director Rachel Chavkin to examine the phenomenon of confirmation bias and attempt to engage in a dialogue, both real and imagined, with political extremism.

Inspired by Thorpe’s frustration at the current level of political discourse in the UK and by his own liberal bias, the work has been developed via academic research to open discussion of the subject in an objective environment.

Thorpe, of Manchester, said: “I’ve always been fascinated by conviction because it seems mysterious to me, not that I don’t have deeply-held beliefs – I do – but because those beliefs weren’t necessarily specific, burning certainties.

“They were more beliefs about the application of concepts, that there must be some reasonableness in every point of view, however small, and that there’s a time and a place for a fair hearing, for everyone.

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“Underneath it all, the surface conflicts and the differing interpretations of facts, there has to be some kind of truth, so I decided to investigate how the processes that allow us to form a worldview are thought to work.

“These processes are double-edged. The information-gathering and filtering that make daily life possible, applied on a larger scale, contain this huge potential for destruction.

“I decided to talk to someone of conviction to see if it was possible to have a conscious conversation about those unconscious processes, a respectful conversation, to listen to those voices, and my voice, to see if we could get beyond the conviction and maybe make my own liberalism less lazy, to see what that might do to me.”

Confirmation can be seen on Friday, February 26, in the Henry Travers Studio. Tickets cost £12.50, or £10 or £11 for concessions. For details, go to www.maltingsberwick.co.uk