From what might be a news desk, an office, a bedroom, a bunker under a mountain or a theatre, two people – reporters, senators, freedom fighters, or just… well… concerned citizens like you – think about what it is to speak up, speak out, blow the whistle and lift the veil.
I want you to know what’s happening…
A MACHINE THEY’RE SECRETLY BUILDING charts a course from the Top Secret secrets of WWI intelligence (via the moon, 1972’s Chess World Championships, a disco in Oklahoma and the cafeteria at CERN) through to 9/11, the erosion of privacy, Edward Snowden and the terror of a future that might already be upon us.
Proto-type have combined original text and classified intelligence documents with film from digital artist Adam York Gregory, and music and sound design by Paul J. Rogers, to vent their frustration at the insidious machine of surveillance.
A MACHINE THEY’RE SECRETLY BUILDING is about how we got to the point where our governments are spying on us and how that’s changing who we are.
“A great antidote to 2017’s tangled political and cultural landscape.”– Exeunt
**** “The kind of theatre that seeps into the sub-conscious.”– The List
**** “We are being called to arms. A Machine… is an alarm clock, waking us up.”– The Wee Review
“a sharing of disbelief, an articulate wail of anger”British Theatre Guide
THUR 14 NOV – THE SPRING, HAVANT – ‘THE TRUTH IS COMING AND IT CANNOT BE STOPPED’ This is a special one-night double-bill with companion show THE AUDIT (OR ICELAND, A MODERN MYTH)
WED 13 FEB – PERFORMING HOUSE, YORK ST JOHN UNIVERSITY
FRI 22 MAR – ATTENBOROUGH ARTS CENTRE, LEICESTER
23 MAY – HARROGATE THEATRE
FRI 6 APRIL – SETTLE STORIES FESTIVAL 2018
WED 27 JUN – YORK THEATRE ROYAL
WED 5 SEPT – CARRIAGEWORKS THEATRE, LEEDS – This is a double-bill with companion show THE AUDIT (OR ICELAND, A MODERN MYTH) on Thur 6th
WED 7 NOV – UNIVERSITY OF SHEFFIELD DRAMA STUDIO – Part of the Enable Us Project
TUE 28 FEB – AXIS ARTS CENTRE, CREWE
WED 1 MAR – THE LOWRY, SALFORD – Part of WTF Wednesday in association with Word of Warning
THUR 2 & FRI 3 MAR – MAC, BIRMINGHAM
THUR 13 – SAT 15 APR – TRON THEATRE, GLASGOW – Scottish Premiere
TUE 25 & WED 26 APR – NORTHERN STAGE, NEWCASTLE
SAT 27 MAY – TRESTLE ARTS BASE, ST ALBANS
WED 7 JUNE – NORWICH ARTS CENTRE, NORWICH
TUE 15 – SUN 27 AUG – EDINBURGH FESTIVAL FRINGE 2017 – as part of the British Council Showcase
TUE 3 OCT – FARNHAM MALTINGS
THUR 5 OCT | AMATA, FALMOUTH UNIVERSITY
THUR 9 – SAT 11 NOV – SOUTHBANK CENTRE, LONDON
2 FEB NUFFIELD THEATRE, LANCASTER ARTS AT LANCASTER UNIVERSITY
13 FEB DERBY THEATRE
18 FEB LINCOLN PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE
13 & 14 APR OXFORD PLAYHOUSE
27 APR WARWICK ARTS CENTRE
30 MAY PULSE FESTIVAL, NEW WOLSEY, IPSWICH
18 JUNE THE CIVIC, BARNSLEY – presented as part of YORKSHIRE FESTIVAL 2016
19 JUNE THE HUB, LEEDS (Pay-what-you-decide)
20 JUNE LAWRENCE BATLEY THEATRE, HUDDERSFIELD (Pay-what-you-decide) – presented as part of YORKSHIRE FESTIVAL 2016
Written and directed by Andrew Westerside
Devised and performed by Rachel Baynton and Gillian Lees
Digital design and artwork by Adam York Gregory
Original music and sound design by Paul J. Rogers
Stage Management – Thomas Marcinek, Danny Ridealgh, and Emily Cartwright | Stage Manager for Edinburgh – Hannah Moore
Producer – Gillian Lees
Consultant Producer – Matt Burman
A Machine they’re Secretly Building was Commissioned by Lincoln Performing Arts Centre (Lincoln), Warwick Arts Centre (Warwick) and hÅb (Manchester. Supported by Tramway, Glasgow, Lancaster Arts at Lancaster University, the Britten-Pears Foundation and the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
AMTSB Premiered in Spring 2016 , and toured through to 2019
“Intelligent agitprop… a eulogy from the end of history”
“Think Adam Curtis meets Chris Thorpe meets Proto-type!”
“Loved new show by Proto-type. Framed by fact & tin foil, fictional futures. Drove home conscious of every CCTV camera.”
“compelling, intelligent, deeply political & gloriously theatrical. Vital watching for all internet users (that’s you).”
“…after an hour in the company of Rachel Baynton and Gillian Lees you may want to go off grid, head to the woods and never touch a keyboard ever again! Based on Edward Snowden’s revelation of the US government’s “massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building”, writer (and director) Andrew Westerside’s history of State surveillance is both revelatory and deeply disturbing… Baynton and Lees’ performances are compelling, their softly spoken words carefully pitched to have us learn forward in our seat to hear every word. They use charm and humour to disarm us but make no mistake, their message is forceful, their campaign as vivid as the lurid pink balaclavas they often don.”– Glen Pearce, The Reviews Hub
“Simple but striking… unflinching and important.”– Megan Vaughan
“I think that we’re all broadly aware of the vast level of surveillance that the government subjects us to. The strength of A Machine They’re Secretly Building, however, is that their humour and simple, compelling performance presents the facts plainly and directly challenges any sense that this is something that we can simply ignore, or pretend does not apply to ‘people like us’ … a bombastic, dynamic explanation of world affairs since Edward Snowden’s revelations in 2013.”– SCAN, Lancaster University
“An inspired, deeply political essay rounded off by heartfelt empathy.”– Oxford Guardian
“Through an expertly researched script and shrewd delivery, A Machine they’re Secretly Building gives a solid attempt to galvanise us into action. It is a compact, harsh assault on our conscience, wrapped in an accessible, attention grabbing package.”– Charlie Salter, Salter Ego
Writing about the piece can be found here.
Press and comments are available here.