Microcosms: Works at the Intersection of Astrophysics and Theater

Monday, December 18, 2023

An audience looks up in the Hayden Planetarium Space Theater, a satellite depicted in orbit in bright colors against a brilliant backdrop of stars. Alvaro Kedding/© AMNH
What happens when astrophysicists and theater makers collaborate to create original theatrical works, inspired by the night sky? 

Microcosms is a collaborative program between the Museum and The Public Theater that explores theater as a tool for science communication and the impact of scientific ideas on a theater artist’s practice.  

Enlisting five scientists from different areas of astrophysics study and five theater makers, Microcosms brought participants together throughout 2023 to bridge science and art and to create original performing arts pieces based on, or in response to, astronomy research concepts.  

In this program, the first Microcosms cohort will present excerpts of new works that have emerged from their collaboration throughout the past year, which will be performed in the Hayden Planetarium’s Space Theater accompanied by OpenSpace visualization technology.   

The performances will be followed by a panel with the members of the cohort, led by Associate Curator Ruth Angus of the Museum’s Department of Astrophysics.  

Scientists from the 2023 Microcosms Cohort

Vanessa Brown, CUNY Astrophysics Graduate Student 
Chris Carr, Columbia Astrophysics Laboratory
Thavisha Dharmawardena, Flatiron Institute
Saavik Ford, Borough of Manhattan Community College and Museum Research Associate
Avery Kim, Columbia Astrophysics Laboratory 

Artists from the 2023 Microcosms Cohort

Ty Defoe
Miranda Haymon
Elisheba Ittoop
Brian Quijada
Dominique Rider 

OpenSpace visualizations provided by Deion Desir.

This program utilizes OpenSpace software supported by NASA under award No NNX16AB93A. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. 

This program is supported by the National Science Foundation Grant 03.003.3333.B72.