Alfred Russel Wallace

The video above shows excerpts from a special performance by Theatr na n'Óg of ‘You should ask Wallace’, part of the Autumn 2009 learning programme at National Museum Cardiff.

Our galleries were transformed into a theatre set in which pupils and members of the public were taken on a journey where they were able to interact with Wallace and the story of his most famous discovery.

Wallace travelled around the Malay Archipelago for eight years, searching for the mechanism of evolution and new species of animals to send back to England.

It was during this trip that he made his greatest contribution to science.

In February 1858, weak with fever, Wallace had a flash of inspiration and discovered natural selection, the process believed to drive most evolutionary change of life on Earth. When he was well enough he wrote an essay detailing his ideas and sent it to Charles Darwin for comment.

Wallace's article plus some of Darwin's unpublished writings on the subject were presented at a meeting of the Linnean Society of London on the 1st July 1858.

It was this discovery which spurred Darwin to produce his seminal work "On The Origin of Species". Wallace is often credited as the co-discoverer of this great achievement in science.

For more information about the performance in the Museum please contact the learning department 029 2057 3240.

For information of other Theatr na n'Óg opportunities visit