The Trials of Galileo at Groundlings Theatre, Portsea

Tim Hardy plays Galileo Galilei at the Groundlings Theatre
Tim Hardy plays Galileo Galilei at the Groundlings Theatre

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The trial of Galileo Galilei, one of the world’s greatest-ever minds, is the subject of a play that comes to the Groundlings on Thursday.

Tim Hardy, who has worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company, plays the famous scientist.

He has portrayed Galileo several times over the past nine years, including a BBC series called Days That Shook The World, written by Emmy award-winner Nic Young. It is through this collaboration that the present play exists.

Tim says: ‘Nic told me he had lots of material left over and asked if I wanted to do a one-man show, and I of course said yes. When you are playing someone this important, you cannot make things up, but Nic is a great researcher and has got all the details right.’

The show tells the story of Galileo’s heresy trial in 1633, in which he locked horns with Pope Urban over the belief that the Earth was the centre of the universe.

He says: ‘Galileo was two people in one – in what he knew about he was a genius because he was so open-minded, but it was amazing how stubborn he could be about everything else.

It furthers the debate about whether faith is enough in itself

Tim Hardy

‘He thought if he could prove something that was the end of it, but it wasn’t. It wasn’t a question of science, it was actually a question of politics, and he couldn’t seem to take that.’

As part of the tour, Tim has performed all over the world, including the US and the President’s Palace in Malta.

‘It was an open-air show in this wonderful closed off forecourt. When I was talking about the stars, there they were above me.’

Tim says the themes of the play speak to social debates about religion.

‘We aren’t arguing about whether the Earth is the centre of the solar system any more, but it furthers the debate about whether faith is enough in itself.’

The Trials Of Galileo is at Groundlings from July 30-31 at 8pm. Tickets: £10-£12, call (023) 9273 7370 or visit