An engaging story of human migration — Deep Ancestry at the Broad

On February 16, 2012, for one night only, The Broad Stage and National Geographic present Deep Ancestry, its most ambitious project in their 120-year history.

Explorer-in-Residence Spencer Wells offers the vivid, engaging story of human migration. Deep Ancestry is an epic global journey in search of the secrets of our distant past. Since 2005, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence and director of The Genographic Project, Spencer Wells, has led a team of scientists in collecting hundreds of thousands of DNA samples from participants around the world. With the aim of creating a detailed, genetically-based map of human migration, the study traces our shared origins and shared journeys and offers a glimpse into our past. To bring the project home, a local newscaster will offer up his DNA to be mapped out for The Broad Stage’s presentation.

In Wells’ fascinating report on the Project’s findings, made vivid by images and video of his travels around the globe, you’ll retrace humanity’s first tentative steps out of our African homeland. From the peopling of Africa and Asia, to Europe, and the Americas…to the complex ethnic and cultural tapestry that humans have woven around the planet.

An entertaining and engaging presenter who can uncover the stories hidden beneath mountains of data, Wells will show how our latest scientific tools are providing new answers to some of our oldest questions: where did we come from, and how did we get to where we live today? Wells states, “As often happens in science, technology has opened up a field to new ways of answering old questions-often providing startling answers.”

Wells’ journey of discovery began at the University of Texas, where he enrolled at 16, majored in biology, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa three years later. He then pursued his Ph.D. at Harvard University and conducted postdoctoral training at Stanford University’s School of Medicine with Luca Cavalli-Sforza, considered the ‘father of anthropological genetics.’

In 2005, Wells authored the book The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey which explains how genetic data has been used to trace human migrations over the past 50,000 years, when modern humans first migrated outside of Africa. According to Wells, one group took a southern route, and populated southern India and southeast Asia, then Australia. The other group, accounting for 90% of the world’s non-African population (some 5 billion people as of late 2006), took a northern route, peopling most of Eurasia (largely displacing the aboriginals in southern India, Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia in the process), North Africa and the Americas.

The Genographic Project—a partnership with IBM, the Waitt Family Foundation, and National Geographic – is the most ambitious research project in the Society’s 120-year history. Using clues in our own cells to show how modern humans came to populate the planet after leaving the cradle of Africa some 60,000 years ago, Wells is working to capture an invaluable genetic snapshot of humanity before modern-day influences erase it forever.




Deep Ancestry

The Broad Stage

1310 11th Street,

Santa Monica, CA 90401





Performance Date and Time:

Thursday, February 16, 2012,

7:30 PM

Box Office:

Purchase tickets here or call (310) 434-3200

Parking is FREE.



About The Broad Stage:

Under the leadership of Director Dale Franzen and Artistic Chair Dustin Hoffman, The Eli and Edythe Broad Stage at the Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center opened its doors in Santa Monica in October 2008.

Inspired by Italian ‘horseshoe’ theaters, yet conceived in an absolutely contemporary vernacular, The Broad Stage is an artist’s dream and an audience’s delight. Unlike any performance space in the country, it is sublimely intimate with 499-seats and strikingly grand at the same time – allowing eye contact with artists from the boxes to the back row -forging a new kind of artist and audience experience in Los Angeles. Theater, dance, film, jazz, operas, musicals, symphony, chamber orchestras and world music are presented on one of the city’s largest proscenium stages. The space was conceived as a global theater and community hub and was designed without compromise to embrace the artistic process from inspiration to opening night.

In addition to The Broad Stage, The Edye Second Space, a smaller black box theater, presents new, developing and innovative work in theater, music and dance as part of the Under the Radar Series. Featuring younger, innovative artists and chamber pieces and plays, programming at The Edye is intentionally spontaneous, reflecting the dynamic nature of the space and allowing the latest, most exciting artists to be booked on short notice.

The Broad Stage ARTS INSIGHTS education and outreach program offers opportunities for cultural exposure through six initiatives. These include Student Matinees, In-School Workshops, Master Classes, Open Rehearsals, Family and Community Events, and Conversation Pieces. ARTS INSIGHTS currently reaches 12,000 students and diverse community members annually through over 30 free and low-cost events.





Pauline Adamek

Pauline Adamek is a Los Angeles-based arts enthusiast with twenty-five years' experience covering International Film Festivals and reviewing new Theatre, Film and Restaurants.


Follow us

Follow ArtsBeat LA on social media for the latest arts news.