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Submissions for the 2019 Season of MACH 33

Caltech Theater announces the call for submissions of new plays for the 6th annual MACH 33: The Festival of New Science-Driven Plays at Caltech to take place in May of 2019!

Our festival playwrights have the unique opportunity to work with science advisors from Caltech and JPL to develop the science in their plays.

MACH 33: The Festival of New Science-Driven Plays at Caltech fosters compelling dialogues on scientific, mathematical, and technological questions by staging readings of new, unpublished plays by Los Angeles-area playwrights. MACH 33 offers artistic and very human experiences that capture our moral imagination and deepen public conversations and curiosity about science. The readings are open to the public and include post-show discussions with the playwrights. Our casts and crews feature undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, professors, staff, and members of the Caltech/JPL/Huntington community.

The deadline for submissions is August 21, 2018. Festival finalists will be notified by October 31, 2018.

  • Three plays will be selected to receive a staged reading in May 2019, with dramaturgical input, science advising, and informal workshop readings before the Festival.

  • Rehearsals will be scheduled in February and March so that playwrights can attend rehearsals and have time to edit their plays if desired.


Eligible submissions must meet the following criteria:

  • The playwright must live in the greater Los Angeles area and be available to meet with the science advisor, dramaturg, and director before the staged reading in May.

  • Received before August 21, 2018

  • Running time of between 80 and 120 minutes

  • Never before published or professionally produced (may have received staged readings with actors on book and minimal staging effects)

  • Centers on science-driven questions

  • All plays must be submitted electronically in PDF format.

  • All submissions should include a cover page with Play Title, Author Name, Date of most recent revision, and Contact Information.

  • Include a brief synopsis of the play (200-word maximum), cast requirements, and mention of any past development experiences.

  • In your email to us, please include a short paragraph explaining specifically how working at Caltech will help you develop the science in your play -- you may even want to look at the Caltech website to see if there’s a department that would be particularly helpful for you to work with.

  • Playwright must agree to credit development work with Caltech Theater as follows:       "[Title of Project] was developed, in part, at the 2019 MACH 33: The Festival of New Science-Driven Plays at Caltech, a program of Caltech Theater ("
  • Send to Associate Artistic Director of the festival Arden Thomas at no later than August 21, 2018.


What does it mean to be "science-driven"? A science-driven play has a scientific, mathematical, or technological theme, and features some or all of the following elements:

  • The science is integral to the play. Science is not just a background effect, a metaphor, or only briefly mentioned. Instead, the scientific theme directly affects the world of the play.

  • The audience leaves the theater with a better appreciation of how science works, and of our connections to science.

  • The play challenges and broadens the view of science, mathematics, and technology in the popular imagination.

  • The play features main characters who are scientists, mathematicians, or engineers, and whose work drives the play.


A panel of readers will choose the plays to be produced at the festival. Past and present readers include:

  • Brian Brophy, Head of Caltech Theater

  • Lolly Ward, playwright

  • Lydia Kivrak, undergraduate student at Caltech
  • Jake Mattinson, undergraduate student at Caltech
  • Arden Thomas, Associate Artistic Director of Mach 33

  • Ashley Stroupe, Staff Engineer at JPL, Mars Rover Opportunity driver

  • Ann K Lindsey, dramaturg
  • Doug Smith, writer, Caltech

  • Peter Lefevre, former Associate Director of Foundation Relations, Caltech

  • Rob Rinow, playwright

  • Manan Arya, JPL engineer and Caltech alum