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Ada and the Engine

cast of Ada and the Engine

On the eve of Computer Science Education Week (December 9-15), VCU’s Shafer Alliance Laboratory Theatre ( SALT), will present a new production of Ada and the Engineby Lauren Gunderson . The play explores the relationship and collaboration between Ada Byron Lovelace (daughter of the flamboyant and notorious Lord Byron) and her friend Charles Babbage, the inventor of the first mechanical computer.

Billed as “Jane Austen meets Steve Jobs,” this poignant pre-tech romance is a music-laced story of love, friendship, and the edgiest dreams of the future. As the British Industrial Revolution dawns, Lovelace and Babbage meet and soon discover a shared passion for mathematics. Lovelace sees the boundless creative potential in the “analytic engines” of her friend Babbage and envisions a whole new world where art and information converge.


  • December 6 and 7 at 7:30 p.m. 
  • December 8 at 2:00 p.m.

December 6 includes a  pre-show discussion featuring Dr. Karen Rader and Dr. John Powers from the VCU History Department and Dr. Lorraine Parker, Director of Diversity and Student Programs for the School of Engineering, starting at 6:45 p.m.

Shows take place at Shafer Street Playhouse ( 221 Shafer St., Richmond) and are free and open to the public.

The play is directed by Melissa Freilich, stage managed by Emily Ellen and stars an all female cast of Julie Hedrick, Abbey Kincheloe, Olivia Knight, Maria Lo Presti, Orlea Mattson, and Shinji Oh. Set design by Jeffrey Hales, lighting design by Deryn Gabor, costume design by Skyler Glaser, props design by Caroline Meyers, sound design by Robert Rosenbrook, and original music composed by Steven Barba and Jose Sanchez.