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O Professor de Darwin

O Professor de Darwin

Hélder Costa


A double anniversary made of 2009 a worldwide celebratory year for Charles Darwin: on the one hand it was the 200th anniversary of his birth and, on the other hand, his fundamental work “The Origin of Species” celebrated 150 years since it first was published.


Darwin’s growth as a scientist was profoundly impacted by his singular and privileged relationship to his teacher John Stevens Henslow. Helder Costa’s play revolves around this character, and was the answer to a challenge made him by Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian regarding this celebratory year.

Gradiva Publicações, S.A.


Hélder Costa

Hélder Costa, born in Grândola on January 6th, 1939, is a Portuguese stage director, actor and playwright.


He studied Law both at Faculdade de Direito of Lisbon and at Faculdade de Direito of Coimbra, was a part of Círculo de Iniciação Teatral da Academia de Coimbra (CITAC), and presided the Cénico de Direito. During that period, he received two honorary mentions received by that theatre group at the Théâtre Universitaire de Nancy, in 1966 and 1967.


While exiled in Paris, he attended Sorbonne University’s Institut d’Études Théatrales and was a founder of the Teatro Operário de Paris (1970).


After the 25th of April’s revolution, he returned to Portugal and was a founding member of A Barraca where he is a stage and artistic director. One of his last plays, “O Príncipe de Spandau”, premiered internationally in Vienna, and was staged in Denmark, Bolivia, and London. He had reading shows in Madrid, Paris, Brussels, Romenia and Lisbon. Besides his own texts, he’s been staging plays by authors such as Gil Vicente, Ribeiro Chiado, Dario Fo, Bertold Brecht, Mrozeck, Ettore Scola, Fassbinder, Woody Allen, Lope de Vega, Ionesco or Molière.


He is the recipient of several national and international awards, such as the Grande Prémio de Teatro da RTP, Damião de Góis, from Associação de Críticos; from Casa da Imprensa; the Prémio da Associação de Actores e Directores da Catalunha, and first place at the 1st International Festival of Ciudad de México with the play “Dancing”.


Costa is a faculty member of Escuela Internacional de Teatro de América Latina y Caribe.


His name is listed as a collaborator of the academic publication Quadrante (1958-1962), published by the Associação Académica da Faculdade de Direito de Lisboa, as well as in the magazine Arte Opinião (1978-1982).


He has also worked on television, as a creator and screenwriter of the series “Ideias com História” (1993-1994), broadcasted by the RTP2.

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