Theatre The Machine Stops

Sat 6 - Sun 7 Jun

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Big Telly Theatre Company inpartnership with the Riverside Theatre & Ulster University present


By EM Forster (Author of A Room witha View, Howards End)

Saturday6th June 2020 – 3pm & 7.30pm

Sunday 7th June 2020 – 3pm & 7.30pm

Tickets: £15 (Group rates availableon request – email for more information)

Running time: Approx 60 mins

Following the success of The Tempest and Operation Elsewhere, (watched by 5000people in 14 countries so far) this is Big Telly's third new show made entirelyin isolation and performed via Zoom.


The Machine Stops’ is a spookilyrelevant short story written by E. M. Forster in 1909. It imagines a futurewhere people live underground in isolated cells, never seeing one another andcommunicating only by audio and visual devices.

A 100 year old ago about lockdown,isolation, what we stand to gain from technology and what we stand to lose fromthe absence of human contact. 


The Machine Stops is a live, engagingand creative illustration of Victorian culture and psyche. The complex multiplelayers of the era’s culture, thinking & fears just as the western worldbegins its accelerated journey into modernity....



It's pure zeitgeisttheatre. Victorian age - parlour games, vignettes, picnics and punting. Itis thought-provoking, imaginative and fun, bringing an audience together as acommunity to celebrate the connections between people and our resilienceand capacity to bounce back. Big Telly creates an escapist adventure into asteampunk world of curious Victoriana - flowers with secret messages, dining inthe dark, tea-duelling, crystal gazing, parlour games, vignettes and charades,punting and picnics. Nostalgic and surreal gatherings and characters of anotherera in a world of isolation. 

“Beware of first-hand ideas!” people are told.Humanity has been overtaken by “the Machine,” which provides all comforts andmeets all needs—except the need for human contact. 

Special after event ‘Meet the Makers’ on Sunday 7th June directlyafter the 3pm event..

A special Q&A with director, cast members and crew of The Machine Stops. Anaudience led discussion, Q&A about the making of The Machine Stops,Operation Elsewhere and creating live theatre on Zoom.

Duringan hour long session, a specially invited audience will explore the creativeand technical techniques and challenges of making theatre on Zoom and considerthe future of theatre making and what the new format means forpractitioners. 

With abackground of innovative game and site specific theatre making, Big Telly castand crew have been at the forefront of developing live online theatre sinceApril. They have already pushed the boundaries of the format. With theadaptation of three pieces of work presented since April they have reached newaudiences and forged new collaborations and partnerships in an astonishinglyshort period of time.

Thisdiscussion session is interactive, audience led and an absolute must forstudents and practitioners of theatre and digital content making.

*Ticket to the event will also admityou to THE BIG AFTER- DEBATE on Sunday 7th June after the showincluding VIP panellists

In association with:
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council
The Portico Of Ards
The Marketplace Theatre, Armagh


Please note, this performance will beconducted through Zoom – you will need to download the Zoom app onto the deviceyou will be watching the show from.


Ticket prices are per screen/device.

Bookers will be emailed the Zoom linkbefore the show starts.
For more information please email



Terms & Conditions of Ticket Sales

  • Tickets may not be exchanged or refunded.
  • Any tickets remaining unclaimed 15 minutes prior to a performance may be sold.
  • Latecomers are admitted at the Management’s discretion.
  • All information about performances is accurate at the time of print. Some details may be subject to change.
  • The use of cameras or recording equipment is strictly forbidden.
  • The management reserves the right to alter or cancel performances without prior notice.
  • The Management reserves the right to refuse admission, or to request that the ticket holder leave the premises and to take appropriate action to enforce such a request.
  • In exceptional circumstances the Management reserves the right to provide alternative seats to those specified on the ticket.
  • Children aged up to 2 years old who can sit on a parent/guardian’s knee do not require a ticket. However, children aged 3 years and over are required to have a ticket purchased for them.
  • Unaccompanied children are admitted at the Management’s discretion.
  • Where applicable, concession rates are identified as part of the ticket price for a show and are available to over 65's, under 18's, students, unwaged, and those who registered disabled. Simply select your ticket type when booking online to receive this discount.  A proof of status will be required when collecting concession tickets.
  • The Management reserves the right to alter prices, concessions, conditions of sale and seat allocation without notice.  If in doubt please check with the Box office.