Bright Sparks- the science behind the show

By Dr Mark Dallas, a brain scientist at the University of Reading.

Filskit Theatre’s Bright Sparks is coming to the Albany this half-term 11 Feb, 1pm & 3pm, ages 3+.

 Inspired by research of the left and right hemispheres of the brain and their different attributes, this physical theatre show lights up the stage in a playful and engrossing story of teamwork.  This production won the University of Reading INSPIRE award for its skill in making the science of the human brain accessible to a younger audience. We’ve been talking to the neuroscientist who was consulted for the project, here’s what he had to say about the left and right side of the brain…

Check out the trailer here.

To book now, click here. 


10% of us are left-handed, with 90% being right-handed. But do our brains have a dominant side?

Sometimes people who feel more creative or curious say they are ‘right-brained’, and people who are more practical and logical say they are ‘left-brained’. It’s true that your brain has two halves – a left side and a right side, linked with a special junction of nerve fibres called the corpus callosum. This special junction has 200 million fibres running through it.

In the 1960s and 1970s scientists examined people with brain conditions that meant this connection was broken. They learnt that the two sides of your brain could still work if they weren’t connected to each other, but that these people tended to respond differently to sights and sounds. At the time, this was a revelation. It led some people to think that for most people, the right side of the brain controlled the wild, emotional, imaginative parts of our personalities, and that the left side was in charge of the calm, reasoned, logical side.

Some people still think this today. But it’s not true. It’s a myth.

We know this because some very creative people, such as musicians, can still be musical even if the right side of their brains are damaged. We can also use modern technology, like magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI scans, to find out how our brains work. By using very powerful magnets and special cameras, we can see what’s going on inside someone’s brain and see which parts are working when they do certain things. This has shown us that most people use different parts of both the left side AND the right side of their brains for most tasks.

So while you do use different parts of your brain in different ways, most things you do require lots of different parts, on both sides of your brain, working in perfect harmony. For example, to do something really creative, like paint a picture, your brain will need to do lots of things to do the job properly. It will have to recall memories. It gathers information from your eyes. It directs your muscles. It may even use deep emotions.

Your brain is the most complex computer ever built. It has 100 billion nerve cells, that’s 200 times more nerve cells than an octopus. These cells are hungry and use 20% of our total body’s energy. Why do they need all this energy? They use this energy to communicate with each other, this communication allows you to walk and talk.

We’re only just beginning to uncover the secrets of our brains. It’s much more complicated than just a left side and a right side.

Want to know more?


Filskit Theatre’s Bright Sparks is coming to the Albany this half-term 11 Feb, 1pm & 3pm, ages 3+.

 To book now, click here. 

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