What is Science Showoff?!?

What is Science Showoff?

It’s a chaotic open mic night for scientists, science communicators, science teachers, historians and philosophers of science, students, science popularisers and anyone else with something to show off about science.

When and where does it happen?

At least once a month in London, and also all over the country, usually starting at 7pm. The first gig was on October 4th, 2011.

How does it work?

For each gig we publish an online sign-up sheet. The first 7 people to sign up are guaranteed slots of up to 9 minutes on the night to do whatever they like as long as it has a science flavour. The organisers hold three slots for invited guests. There are two ‘waiting list slots’ available on the online booking sheet in case one of the first 7 backs out, gets sick or is otherwise ruled out. Usually no-one is allowed to book two slots in any three month period, and there are variations on this rule for gigs in cities where we don’t perform every month.

What happens on the night?

We start at 7.30, with an introduction from compere Steve Cross, and the night runs in two halves, each an hour long. The signed-up performers take to the stage to show off their science. They might:

Show a film they just made
Try out a new demo
Practice a new science comedy set
Tell us about their new discovery
Perform an 9-minute play about science
Play their new song about protons
Tell us what they’ve been up to
Predict the future
Give us a taster of their science-themed Edinburgh show
Read us their latest science poem
Try out a bit of a new science lesson on us
Play us a short radio documentary
Experiment on the crowd
Read us a blogpost
Perform an interpretive dance about science

Or anything else…

Every set lasts 9 minutes or less. There’s a 20 minute intermission and we finish by 10pm, to give us an hour of picking each other’s brains over beer and to form new plans and partnerships before closing time.

Is there money involved?

No-one gets paid. There is a collection bucket, and we suggest a donation of £5 from everyone who comes along (audience and performers alike). All proceeds go to a charity, chosen for that month’s gig. In our first year we raised £5000 for a collection of charities. In our second year (Sept 2012-Aug 2013) we raised £12 000.

I want you to come to my town / organise a gig with my conference

Brilliant. We’d love to. We’ve gigged at the Manchester Science Festival, The Green Man Festival, with the British Science Association Science Communication Conference, SpotOn London and loads more!

We’ll need you to find someone who will pay for our trainfares and hotels, though. Email us to find out more.

Recent Posts

SCIENCE SHOWOFF curated by Simon Watt. Dec 16th. Star of Kings.

Ticket link


And can you believe the treats that Santa* has got in his bulging science sack** for all the good boys and girls*** this year?

* = Guest curator Simon Watt
** = line-up of amazing acts
*** = you, the ticket-buying public

He’s got:

Steve Cross – Showoff MC, international science comedian (he has done one gig in Belgium), racounteur, monster.

Helen Arney – The Geek Songstress (as seen on BBC2 and Comedy Central) will be performing a Christmassy set of songs. She’ll be mashing up her usual blend of “science, music & ukulele”… in other words… “Cue miniscule ice elks”!

Rob Wells – Rob is a data strategist and stand up comedian who will be combining those two disparate fields for nine minutes of spell-binding Winter Entertainment and / or above-average PowerPoint.

Neil Denny – Neil Denny makes the Little Atoms Radio Show and podcast. He’ll be talking about how a cushion nearly started a nuclear war.

Ed Yong – Set details to come

Erica McAlisterSex and seduction as told by flies. Some of them kiss, some stroke, and some even give presents but don’t be fooled – they drink, womanise and make the woman perform for them in demeaning fashions. Sound familiar? What with some strange adaptations and some interesting developments the wonderful sex lives of flies will be revealed.

Stevyn Colgan – Stevyn is an author, illustrator, QI ‘elf’ and co-writer of ‘The Museum of Curiosity’ for BBC R4. He’s going to talk about aliens; why they won’t be humanoid and may shit bricks.

Claire Asher -Set details to come

Nick Crumpton – After stints as a zoologist, media-dabbler, and childrens author, Nick now works at the Natural History Museum in London as a presenter of Nature Live and part-time secret science-doer. He has an inordinate fondness for small mammals, graphic novels, speaking into microphones, and occasionally growing beards.

Timandra Harkness – Set details to come

Simon Watt – Simon  will be discussing the work of the Ugly Animal Preservation Society (@UglyAnimal) and his fondness for frogs.

This monumental lineup are all performing at the Star of Kings on Tuesday December 16th. Door open at 7pm. Tickets are £6 (all of which goes to Street Doctors, Simon’s chosen charity for this month).

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