We spent last week squirrelled away at Nottingham Playhouse working with the actors and directors on Emily Holyoake's incredible ADA. We were showing the team our response to the text using music boxes, AI synth blips and glitchy piano work (MY FAVOURITE)

Another strand of the stuff we've been busy with (and the most exciting!) is researching and discovering ways in which electronic performance can be integrated into the stage and set design. Theatre is something that has regularly been shown within live performances, Bjork and Kate Bush are a testament to that. We wanted to turn that on it's head and integrate elements of electronic performance within a theatre setting. We wanted to show that it would be possible to have a set that triggered sound, lights and visual elements from the stage rather than having a separate engineer. Actors wouldn't need to have prior musical knowledge for this to work and neither would there be any musical instruments on the stage. The set and props would be connected to circuits and the actors would release the magic. The team responded really well. It was very exciting. 

The idea that we can make a fully integrated stage set up would mean the possibility of the play not being tied down to a theatre. The hope is that we can get the production in to public spaces, schools, galleries, libraries etc. The design tech and magic used in the play would be the basis for workshops to inspire young people, especially girls, to explore creative tech ideas and find new and brave ways to express themselves. Modern day Adas.

We can't wait to take the play into the production stage, we have offered up a few bits of haiku memorabilia to the kickstarter. Our old accordion and reed organ have been pledged upon already but there are still four out of the five spaces left to join us at the studio when we record the soundtrack and some signed records too. You can pledge here if this is something that interests you: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1354386036/ada


We are currently working in conjunction with Poetical Machines on the musical composition for a theatre piece about the life of Ada Lovelace.  Ada was a mathematician and computer programmer and is best known for her work on the Analytical Engine. She was the first person to envisage that a machine could have the capabilities to do more than simply calculate and provided, in theory, how the modern day computer would work. One of her visions was that Analytical Engine may even create elaborate and scientific pieces of music...

Ada would have been a household name in the same sense as Einstein or Hawking were she not a woman. Many women have been written out of history or had their ideas undermined (there is one mention of Ada on the Analytical Engine wikipedia page). Everyone's thoughts are shaped around the messages we receive or images we look at and we need the visibility of successful women in varied roles to provide  choice and aspirations for people today. It's well known that the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics are still dramatically male orientated: a classic example of "you can't be what you can't see". This change isn't going to happen by itself. Societal changes are shaped by cultural attitudes and trends, and "whether we act or not has everything to do with it" (thanks Rebecca Solnit you hopeful and amazing woman). 

You can safely say we're pretty chuffed to be involved and the idea of a musical machine is clearly something that sparks an interest - an interest that would never have existed in the first place without Ada and her poetical science. Thanks Ada!

"Ada" is being produced by Poetical Machines, written by Emily Holyoake, funded by The Arts Council and supported by Nottingham Playhouse.