The Catalyst
The Catalyst
About Us

Who we are

An association of creative scientists

Established in 2012 in Lausanne, Switzerland, The Catalyst is a group of scientific researchers and professionals that use entertainment as a means of engagement with the public. Using skills grounded in improvisation, theater, and film, we have created a variety of plays, short films, and interactive exhibits that showcase leading scientific ideas. The Catalyst is a non-profit association governed by Articles 60 et seq. of the Swiss Civil Code.

Our vision

We believe that combining science and theatrical arts is valuable in a variety of ways:

  • Creating new media about current scientific research allows us to present novel science-related narratives and authentic characters from the scientific culture. When scientists lead collaborations with theatre professionals they can connect to the public with emotional nuance while maintaining scientific integrity and highlighting new discoveries.

  • Teaching scientists effective communication skills enables them to present their work in an engaging and productive manner, both to communicate new research and to illuminate the process of scientific reasoning for the general public.

What we do

  • Performance. The Catalyst has produced a variety of original and adapted media including plays, improv, film, interactive debates, and immersive games. Visit our Projects tab to learn more about our past and current projects.

  • Drop-in. Our English-language weekly improv sessions have become a popular gathering place for scientists interested in learning theater skills and meeting like-minded creative scientists. Visit our Drop-in tab to learn more about our sessions in both Lausanne and Geneva.

  • CatCave9. This award-winning monthly improv show has been entertaining and educating audiences since January 2016. Visit CatCave9 to learn more.

  • Workshops. We continue to hold workshops by request or invitation to teach public-speaking skills and scientific communication strategies. Click here to learn more.

Meet the crew

The elected committee currently managing The Catalyst consists of:

Funding

CatCave9 is self-sustaining thanks to our lovely audiences.

Exposure Science Film Hackathon was jointly supported by UNIL and EPFL. 

The Blue Butterfly Project was supported principally by a Swiss National Science Foundation AGORA grant for science engagement with the public - “The Catalyst: Science on Stage.” 

The Pôle d’Expression Théâtrale at EPFL and all of its component sponsors (Agepoly, FAE, EPFL) backed the launch of our group and have continued to back us since 2013 with financial aid, technical support, and advising for both Puppet Theories (2013) and An Enemy of the People (2014). They also kindly helped support Blue Butterfly. We appreciate their continued support of The Catalyst!

We thank the Center for Integrative Genomics and the UNIL for housing our weekly meetings and for providing administrative services.

If YOU love the cross-section of science and entertainment as much as we do, and you'd like to support our work, please contact us at thecatalyst AT thecatalyst.ch !