Avant Bard relaunches ‘Ada and the Engine’


from Arlington Avant-Bard Theater directed by Lauren Gunderson Ada and the engine as the company’s second mainline show of its 32nd season. At the helm is Megan Behm, who directed the resounding success of Avant Bard A misanthrope and the original production of Ada and the engine, which was due to open two years ago just as the world was shutting down due to the pandemic.

Dina Soltan in “Ada and the Engine”. Photo by DJ Corey Photography.

Ada and the engine follows Ada Lovelace (Dina Soltan), the only legitimate child of the love poet Lord Byron, who had a love of his own: mathematics. Well, that… plus a certain polymath-inventor, Charles Babbage (Matthew Pauli), famous as “the father of the computer”. If it’s true that Babbage invented the hardware – the analytical engine – the language, the song, the soul of the thing, the programming, was all Ada.

Dina Soltan and Matthew Pauli in “Ada and the Engine”. Photo by DJ Corey Photography.

From the prolific playwright Lauren Gunderson (author of inspiration Emilythat Avant Bard successfully produced in 2017), Ada and the engine is a whimsical science story that once again proves that the future is, and always has been, female.

Megan Behm (she/she) is an arts director and administrator with over ten years of experience in the DC area. Prior to becoming a producing partner at Avant Bard, she held the positions of Deputy General Manager at NextStop Theater and Director of Marketing and Communications at Mosaic Theater Company. At Avant Bard, she made Ada and the engine and the nominee by Helen Hayes A Misanthrope. Other recent directing credits include Pride and Prejudice and the winner of the Helen Hayes Prize 45 pieces for 45 presidents at the NextStop Theater, Change and nominee Helen Hayes Tell my story with the welders, and Cymbeline with the Virginia Shakespeare Festival.

Ada and the engine will run from March 5-26, 2022, presented by Avant Bard Theater performing at Gunston Arts Center, Theater Two, 2700 South Lang Street, Arlington, VA, where there is ample free parking. Tickets ($40) are available in line or by calling 703-418-4808. Pay-What-You-Can (PWYC) tickets are also available online in advance for previews and Saturday matinees at 2 p.m.

COVID safety: Proof of vaccination is required to enter the theater. A negative COVID-19 test administered within 72 hours is accepted from customers with a religious or medical exemption. Face coverings must be worn at all times inside the venue, including while watching the performance and using the washrooms. Avant Bard follows VDH/CDC recommendations for the preservation of public health.

Shortly: The season continues in May, with Suddenly last summer by Tennessee Williams, directed by Avant Bard Creative Director Emeritus Christopher Henley and starring veteran Avant Bard actors Sara Barker and Cam Magee. Suddenly last summer was originally intended to work in the directory with Ada and the engine when the pandemic canceled all theaters in March 2020. We are so grateful to have the opportunity to bring these shows back for their entirety.

Avant-Bard Theater is an Arlington-based performing arts organization primarily dedicated to producing classic works – both time-tested and contemporary classics; emphasizing a provocative and daring approach in an intimate setting; and train and present the best emerging talent in the region, mentored by seasoned professional theater artists. Avant Bard’s mission is expressed through its commitment to artistic excellence, collaboration, talent development and the promotion of educational and social action. Learn more at avantbard.org.


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