Opening Skinner's Box

A rollercoaster ride through ten fascinating psychological experiments.

The latest production was at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus Ohio 29th March – 1st April 2018

In this production the cast were: David Carr, Alan Cox, Stephen Harper, Morven Macbeth, Kate Maravan and Paschale Straiton.

Why do we love? When would we kill?
How do we learn? Why do we believe in the unbelievable?
What is memory? Why do we keep doing things that hurt us?

These were questions for religion and philosophy till about a hundred years ago. Then science joined the conversation and, according to science, pretty much everything we think about ourselves is wrong.

Inspired by the fascinating book by Lauren Slater, Opening Skinner’s Box is a whistle-stop tour of the scientific quest to make sense of what we are and who we are, told through ten great psychological experiments and the stories of the people who created them.

Adapted from the book by Lauren Slater
Directed by Phelim McDermott and Lee Simpson
Designed by Laura Hopkins
Lighting design by Nigel Edwards
Sound design by Adrienne Quartly

Performed by Alan Cox, Stephen Harper, Tyrone Huggins, Morven Macbeth, Kate Maravan, Paschale Straiton


First performed at the Northern Stage in April 2016 it moved to the West Yorkshire Playhouse, to the Bristol Mayfest in May 2016 and to the Lincoln Center Festival, New York in July 2017.

Opening Skinner’s Box is a co-production with Northern Stage and West Yorkshire Playhouse. The Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University is lead commissioner through its Artist Residency Award programme.

The work is co-commissioned by Lincoln Center Festival, New York and the Brisbane Festival. This work has been supported by a Wellcome Trust Arts Award and by The Mackintosh Foundation.

Two hours of compelling theatre
The I-paper

A fascinating, if at times alarming, insight into the scientific quest for understanding what it means to be human ★★★★ The Times

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