A Machine they're Secretly Building (AMTSB)

Proto-type Theater


Based in Lincoln, Proto-type is a company of artists creating diverse and original performances ranging from touring theatre and radio drama to multi-media and pervasive technology experiences. Thought-provoking and imaginative, their stage work is always beautifully crafted and underpinned by a slick, minimalist design aesthetic.

A Machine they’re Secretly Building is a multi-media production featuring live action, film, animation and a specially composed musical score. Made in response to the impact of high-profile whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange, the show looks at the politics they are involved with – truth, secrecy, privacy, government. Addressing serious concerns through ironic wit and fact, the company draws audiences into the decisions of the past and their effect on our future in a performance that is both a protest, and a cautionary tale against inaction

In the press

“A sharing of disbelief, an articulate wail of anger and powerlessness”
British Theatre Guide

“Make no mistake, their message is forceful, their campaign as vivid as the lurid pink balaclavas they often don.” The Reviews Hub

Production details

  • Writer

    Andrew Westerside
  • Devisor

    Rachel Baynton and Gillian Lees
  • Designer

    Proto-type Theater with Adam York Gregory and Paul J. Rogers
  • Number of people on stage

  • Number of people in touring company

  • Freight

    Excess baggage
  • Touring Availability

    From September 2017
  • Scale of venue

    Small-scale (capacity up to 400)
  • Minimum performance space

    8m x 3.5m approx
  • Text-based

    Dense (important for audiences to have a good understanding of English)

In Edinburgh

  • Venue

  • Production dates

    15-27 AUGUST
  • Production times

  • Duration

    60 MINS
  • Audience capacity




Proto-type leads workshops, master-classes, lectures and training sessions for a wide variety of groups and are happy to create custom workshops upon request.

PERFORMING PROTEST is a workshop specifically designed to complement performances of A Machine they're Secretly Building: Concerned? Called to action? Ready to dissent?
How do you put your protest and your politics on the stage? In this workshop, participants will devise, in groups or individually, small first-stage works of protest performance using the techniques that were used by Proto-type to create their newest piece - A Machine they're Secretly Building.
Suitable for studios or site-specific locations, the workshop will explore tactics and strategies for writing, devising and staging contemporary political theatre and performance.

Age 16+ | All skill/experience levels | Max 25 participants | Half and full-day versions available