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Cartoon de Salvo’s Irish Giant comes to Warwick for Bank Holiday performance

Medical history is to be given a theatrical treatment in a pioneering new production by Cartoon de Salvo at the University of Warwick during the late spring bank holiday weekend.

The real-life tragic tale tells of Irish giant, Charles Byrne, who lived between 1761 and 1783, and who was besieged by eager scientists trying to persuade him to let them use his body for anatomical research.

The play explores the struggle between religion and science as Byrne, a devout Catholic, believed his soul would be destroyed if they took his body for experimentation. It also questions the ethics of early surgeons who would use devious tactics to get their hands on corpses in order to practice their craft. Needless to say, the surgeon gets his man in the end and the skeleton of Charles Byrne is on display at the Hunterian museum at the Royal College of Surgeons in London and still manages to court controversy, even today.

Anyone interested in Genetics and Gigantism, Anatomy in 18th Century Britain, the History of Medicine or those looking to learn more about the struggle between Science and Religion can reserve tickets now for the two performances and expert panel discussions being held from 6.30pm on Friday 27 May and 1.30pm on Saturday 28 May. Tickets are free of charge but must be reserved in advance at

The performances are part of a public engagement project by the Centre for the History of Medicine (Wellcome Trust funded), at the University of Warwick and will offer an insight into the ethics of those early surgeons and scientists using theatre as a teaching and discussion medium.

For more information please contact:Kate Cox in the University of Warwick’s Communications office on +44 (0)2476 150483/574255, m: +44(0)7920 531221 or