Life of gay history icon Alan Turing through dance in ‘Formulae & Fairy Tales’

The life of British citizen Alan Turing, considered the father of the computer and artificial intelligence who helped the Allies defeat the Nazis in World War II, will be interpreted through dance next month in “Formulae & Fairy Tales.”

The dance theater production will debut September 13 and 14 at The Broad Stage at the Santa Monica Performing Arts Center. Tickets range from $49 to $79 plus service fees.

Alan Turing

Turing’s life also has been on the silver screen. The 2014 movie “The Imitation Game,” based on the book “Alan Turing: The Enigma,” received substantial critical acclaim. Benedict Cumberbatch also garnered numerous accolades for his work as Turing and even was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar.

The film, however, was criticized for keeping Turing’s homosexuality in the closet.

In real life, the British government viciously persecuted Turing for being gay. Even though he helped end World War II thanks to his amazing code breaking skills, Turing was convicted in 1952 of “gross indecency” by the very country he helped save. 

He died in 1954 after eating an apple laced with cyanide.

Gays, lesbians who served during World War II found freedom, were persecuted

‘Formulae & Fairy Tales’

The Invertigo Dance Theatre will produce “Formulae & Fairy Tales,” which puts “the world of mathematics, artificial intelligence, and cryptography onto a vivid, twisted fairy-tale palette,” according to a press release about the play.

Laura Karlin, the dance company’s founding artistic director, says “Formulae & Fairy Tales” is a “whimsical leap into a vivid imagination,” according to the same statement.

“It is a love letter to a great mind. It is a playground and a memory and a machine,” Karlin said. “It is a rejection of tragedy in favor of hope, redemption, and an implacable desire that our world be better for the people living in it.”

Alan Turing Formulae & Fairy Tales

Dancers rehearse a scene from “Formulae & Fairy Tales,” a dance theater production that explores the life of Alan Turing. The production will be staged at The Broad Stage at the Santa Monica Performing Arts Center September 13 and 14. Turing, who was gay, is considered the father of the computer and artificial intelligence, helped the Allies defeat the Nazis in World War II. After the World War II, his British homeland viciously persecuted him for being gay. Photo: George Simian.

Turing pardoned

Turing was officially pardoned in 2009 by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and the Alan Turing Law is an informal term for a 2017 law in the United Kingdom that retroactively pardoned men cautioned or convicted under legislation that outlawed homosexual acts.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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