Catalyst Collaborative at MIT

The Catalyst Collaborative at MIT (CC@MIT) is a collaboration between MIT and two non-profit professional theater companies, Underground Railway Theater and the Nora Theater Company. Both companies are in residence at the Central Square Theater.

CC@MIT brings together theater artists and scientists to create and present plays that deepen public understanding of science and technology.



Through performances and post-show conversations with scientists and artists, CC@MIT:

  • engages audiences in thinking about themes in science and technology of social and ethical concern;
  • provides insight into the culture of science and the impact of that culture on our society;
  • examines the human condition through the lens of science and technology

CC@MIT in the Community:

  • Commissions playwrights and scientists to create new works together
  • Collaborates with the Cambridge Science Festival and MIT Museum
  • Stages readings of plays in the community, followed by conversations with scientists and artists
  • Engages students through internships and science theater courses
  • Conducts a youth apprenticeship project mentoring under-served teenagers with scientists and artists
  • Creates professional development workshops for teachers and new curricular materials for youth and children


Co Directors

Janet Sonenberg Professor, Music & Theater Arts, MIT
Debra Wise Artistic Director, Underground Railway Theater
Alan Brody Playwright, Professor of Theater, MIT


Artistic Co Director

Alan Lightman Author, Physicist, Professor of Science Writing, MIT


Advisory Committee

Philip S. Khoury Director of the Advisory Committee, Vice Provost, MIT
Claude Canizares Vice President, MIT
Bruno Rossi Professor of Physics, MIT
Robert Desimone Director, McGovern Institute for Brain Research
Doris and Dawn Berkey Professor of Neuroscience, MIT
John Durant Director, MIT Museum
Jerome Friedman Institute Professor of Physics Emeritus, MIT
1990 Nobel Laureate
Owen Gingerich Professor Emeritus of Astronomy and History of Science, Harvard University
Nancy Hopkins Amgen, Inc. Professor of Biology, MIT
Robert L. Jaffe MIT Morningstar Professor of Physics
MacVicar Faculty Fellow, MIT
David Kaiser Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science
Head of the Program in Science, Technology, and Society
Senior Lecturer in MIT’s Department of Physics
Leila W. Kinney Executive Director of Arts Initiatives and the Center for Art, Science & Technology, MIT
Natalie Kuldell Biological Engineering, MIT
Coalition for the Public Understanding of Science (COPUS)
Alan Guth Cosmologist, Weisskopf Professor of Physics, MIT
Irene Porro Director, Youth Astronomy Program
MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research
Kate Snodgrass Artistic Director, Boston Playwrights Theatre
Melanie Wallace Senior Series Producer, NOVA WGBH TV
Jason Weeks Executive Director, Cambridge Arts Council


Honorary Member

Eric Lander Director, Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard
CoChair, President Obama’s Advisory Council on Science and Technology