Conversations in Science Series
A program conceived and organized by the Wisconsin Initiative for Science Literacy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with the collaboration of the Madison Metropolitan School District and the Edgewood Sonderegger Science Center.

Thursday, May 14, 2009, 4:00 pm
LOCATION: Sonderegger Science Center (Click here for parking information)
1000 Edgewood College Drive Madison, Wisconsin

Professor Norma Saldivar
Director, Arts Institute

“Science in Theatre: A discussion of the collaboration
between the theatre and science”

The Conversations in Science series brings together UW-Madison science researchers and Dane County science teachers. Designed to stimulate discussion between scientists and science educators at all levels, these conversations connect high-, middle-, and elementary school classrooms with the University's cutting-edge research. Questions and ideas are freely exchanged between expert and an audience of K-12 educators.


In this conversation, Professor Norma Saldivar talks about the recent trend in science plays. What makes theatres gravitate to producing plays about science? How does theatre and science work together? and what makes them good partners in educating audiences and the public about science and the people who make discoveries.

Readings suggested in order of importance:

  1. Copenhagen by Michael Frayn
  2. Life of Galileo by Bertolt Brecht
  3. Enemy of the People by Arthur Miller based on the play by Henrik Ibsen


Norma Saldivar is Executive Director of UW Arts Institute a coalition of UW arts departments, presenters and producers. As Professor of Theatre with a specialization in directing, she is in her 11th year of teaching acting and directing, heads the graduate directing program and has served the department as Producing Director for University Theatre. She received her Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign with an emphasis in Directing and her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting from Illinois Wesleyan University. She has worked and continues to work professional regionally and nationally as a director of new and contemporary work emphasizing work expressing the female voice and Latino/Chicano Theatre. Her professional credits span both coasts, as well as the Chicago and Milwaukee areas. She has served as an administrator, dramturg, casting director and internship coordinator for several professional companies. She has directed science plays for University Theatre most notably Oxygen by Carl Djerassi and Roald Hoffmann. She was a Wisconsin Initiative for Science Literacy Fellow for Science is Fun assisting in developing collaboration between theatre and science which has continued with the integration of graduate students in acting and directing working with Science is Fun Student Public Presentations. Her college/university teaching and directing credits include: University of California, Los Angeles; University of Southern California; University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee; University of Wisconsin, Whitewater; Illinois Wesleyan University; and Beloit College. She has served as adjunct faculty or taught seminars at the following institutions: UCLA, USC, University of South Carolina, and University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. Professor Saldivar is an affiliated faculty member of the Chicano/a Studies Program on the campus of the University of Wisconsin, Madison and a member in good standing of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers.

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