5 Questions with Heidi Powers, director of Ada and the Engine

5 Questions with Heidi Powers, director of Ada and the Engine

We recently sat down with Heidi Powers, director of our first 2019 main stage production, Ada and the Engine, to get to know her a little better. Here’s what she had to say!

*Tell us a bit about yourself and your involvement in the local theatre scene. Where have we seen your work?

I wear a lot of different hats in the Los Angeles theatre community. I’m most known for co-writing musicals (like Bronies: The Musical) as well as producing and marketing (including Fancy: Secrets from my Bootydoir) but my longest-running passion for the medium is as a director. I hold a BFA in directing from the University of Michigan.

*Tell us about this script; what impressed you and made you want to do this show?

Heidi Powers, director of Ada and the Engine

Heidi Powers, director of Ada and the Engine

From the moment I opened Lauren Gunderson‘s script, I knew it was something special. Her language just… dances off the page. One thing that dazzles me in particular is how she captures the way each person’s rhythm changes from relationship to relationship. Thematically, Gunderson hits a really cathartic spot for me, as well; I’m always hunting for the balance between the artistic and the analytical, and I love the way this play embraces both.

*Give us a sneak peek at the production. What are you excited to show audiences with Ada and the Engine?

Ada was passionate about music and its power to transport, and Gunderson’s play whisks us swiftly through decades and experiences (and even planes of existence!). So our production uses music and movement to weave it all together. Our exceptional cast is working with our choreographer, Roger Fojas, to workshop pieces inspired by the machines that Babbage and Lovelace dreamed up, and I can’t wait to share those visions with our audience.

*Share your thoughts on Ada herself. What were you surprised to learn about her?

I had certainly heard about Ada before reading the play, but I was genuinely shocked to discover that she was born Ada Byron. Yes, THAT Lord Byron was her father! I was also stunned that her mother, embittered by Byron’s… Byron-ness… pushed Ada into mathematics as a means of controlling her daughter’s wild side. While much of that “wild” side was her creativity and her fiery personal agency, Ada really did have a fiery streak… whether she was attempting to elope with a tutor, racking up horse-racing debts, even (gasp!) secretly writing poetry. She certainly was her father’s child, no matter how her mother tried to prevent it.

*Speaking of surprises, what don’t we know about you? Any hobbies, skills, obsessions you’d care to share?

When I’m not directing or writing (or doing marketing and publicity for the studios) I’m usually indulging in a new creative hobby. I find that the best way to keep my artistic juices coursing is to learn to make something else entirely. I’ve dabbled in graphic design, embroidery, lifestyle blogging and zentangle doodling, but this year I’m mastering the art of royal icing. There’s something soothing about watching a jumbled drizzle smooth itself into a perfectly smooth surface. If you visit concessions at the show, perhaps you’ll even get to try the fruits of my labor!

Tickets are on sale now for Ada and the Engine, opening March 21st!

Theatre Unleashed opens 2019 season with Ada and the Engine

Theatre Unleashed opens 2019 season with Ada and the Engine

Heidi Powers directs this unique introspective on the intriguing relationship between pioneers Ada Byron Lovelace and Charles Babbage at the dawn of the computer age. 

LOS ANGELES – While director Heidi Powers knew about Ada Byron’s Lovelace contribution to the birth of the modern computer, she was stunned to discover that not only was Ada Lord Byron’s daughter, but that she was also an accomplished poet and musician. “I love how she tried to embrace both her artistic and analytical sides,” Powers said. “I think that humanity’s most powerful inventions come from the combination of the arts and sciences.”

The complexity of Ada, her relationships and her many contributions to both of those worlds are at the heart of Lauren Gunderson’s acclaimed play Ada and the Engine, presented by Theatre Unleashed and playing March 21-31 at studio/stage in Los Angeles.

As the British Industrial Revolution dawns, young Ada Byron Lovelace sees the boundless creative potential in the “analytic engines” of her friend and soulmate, Charles Babbage, inventor of the first mechanical computer. Ada envisions a whole new world where art and information converge––a world she might not live to see. It’s a music-laced story of love, friendship, and the edgiest dreams of the future. Jane Austen meets Steve Jobs in this poignant pre-tech romance heralding the computer age.

“When I discovered Lauren Gunderson’s beautiful script, I knew it was the perfect show to not only kick off the 2019 season but also begin the next chapter for Theatre Unleashed,” said Co-Artistic Director Jenn Scuderi Crafts. “Backed with Heidi’s incredible directorial vision, this production will be a huge step forward in our company’s artistic journey.”

Co-Artistic Director Jacob Smith echoed those sentiments. “The first I saw of Heidi’s work was a few years ago, when I saw Bronies: The Musical, which she wrote and produced, and I’ve wanted to work with her ever since,” he said. “Between the hyper-talented cast, visionary director, and the all-star design team and crew, this show is going to be amazing on all levels.”

Beyond the fascinating exploration of the short life of Ada and her dynamic relationship with Babbage, the play also features quite a few surprises, including a rather unexpected finale that promises to leave patrons talking. With this production, Powers is also hoping to inspire.

“Ada’s mother had urged her into mathematics as a way to control the ‘wildness’ she inherited from her absentee father,” Powers said. “Today we’d define that wildness as creativity, or agency, or curiosity…and they’re the kinds of qualities I’d like to encourage in all young women.”

 

Ada and the Engine

Written by Lauren Gunderson
Directed by Heidi Powers
Produced by Theatre Unleashed

SYNOPSIS:
As the British Industrial Revolution dawns, young Ada Byron Lovelace (daughter of the flamboyant and notorious Lord Byron) sees the boundless creative potential in the “analytic engines” of her friend and soulmate, Charles Babbage, inventor of the first mechanical computer. Ada envisions a whole new world where art and information converge––a world she might not live to see. It’s a music-laced story of love, friendship, and the edgiest dreams of the future. Jane Austen meets Steve Jobs in this poignant pre-tech romance heralding the computer age.

DATES AND TIMES:
March 21-31
Thursdays and Fridays – 8 p.m.
Saturdays – 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Sundays – 7 p.m.

LOCATION:
studio/stage

520 N. Western Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90004

TICKET PRICES:
General Admission: $20

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
www.theatreunleashed.org

PRESS CONTACT:
Jim Martyka
(818) 497-3701
[email protected]

Happy Valentine’s Day from Theatre Unleashed

Happy Valentine’s Day from Theatre Unleashed

Ada and the Engine director Heidi Powers has come up with some incredible Ada Lovelace-themed Valentines! Grab one and send it to that special someone in your life with whom you share a mutual attraction, but etiquette and societal expectations mean you’ll never be able to express your true feelings for one another. You know who we’re talking about.

      

You’re welcome.

About Ada and the Engine

As the British Industrial Revolution dawns, young Ada Byron Lovelace (daughter of the flamboyant and notorious Lord Byron) sees the boundless creative potential in the “analytic engines” of her friend and soul-mate, Charles Babbage, inventor of the first mechanical computer. Ada envisions a whole new world where art and information converge – a world she might not live to see. A music-laced story of love, friendship, and the edgiest dreams of the future. Jane Austen meets Steve Jobs in this poignant pre-tech romance heralding the computer age.

Tickets are on sale now!

About Heidi Powers

By day, Heidi is a mild-mannered entertainment marketing and copywriting guru for the film industry. By night, she and her partners fight crime [where fight=write and crime=musicals.] She’s a third of musical team Greene/Powers/Moore; their Bronies! The Musical premiered at Hollywood Fringe where it won Best Musical. Third Street Theatre mounted a full production and an original cast album currently available on iTunes. The trio also wrote The Real Housekeepers of Studio City, and are developing Dahlia: A Los Angeles Musical, about the life of Elizabeth Short. Powers and Moore also collaborate on plays, screenplays, and one marriage. Their scripts for supernatural comedy Something Old and noir/children’s pilot Bubble Gumshoe were 2016 Page Awards semifinalists.

Meet the cast of Ada and the Engine by Lauren Gunderson, opening March 21st!

Meet the cast of Ada and the Engine by Lauren Gunderson, opening March 21st!

Theatre Unleashed is proud to announce the cast of Ada and the Engine by Lauren Gunderson and directed by Heidi Powers, opening March 21st at studio/stage!

The Cast

Clockwise from top left:

* Member of the Theatre Unleashed Ensemble
æ Appears courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association

 

About Ada and the Engine

As the British Industrial Revolution dawns, young Ada Byron Lovelace (daughter of the flamboyant and notorious Lord Byron) sees the boundless creative potential in the “analytic engines” of her friend and soul-mate, Charles Babbage, inventor of the first mechanical computer. Ada envisions a whole new world where art and information converge – a world she might not live to see. A music-laced story of love, friendship, and the edgiest dreams of the future. Jane Austen meets Steve Jobs in this poignant pre-tech romance heralding the computer age.

This production is presented under the auspices of the Actors’ Equity Los Angeles Membership Company Rule.

Ada and the Engine is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service.

 

Tickets on Sale Now

Learn more about the show on the production page.

Do you shop at Ralphs?

Do you shop at Ralphs?

Do you or someone you know shop at Ralphs (or another Kroger-brand grocery chain)?

You do? Awesome! We’d like to share with you you to an absolutely zero-effort way you and your friends and family can support Theatre Unleashed by doing something you already do regularly: shopping for groceries.

So, if you’re a regular at Ralphs, you probably have a rewards card. If you don’t have a Rewards Card, you want to get one. When you shop at Ralphs and use your rewards card, you can now designate Theatre Unleashed as a charitable beneficiary, and Ralphs will donate 0.5% of what you spend to the company through the Ralphs Community Contribution Program.

Now, we know half a percent doesn’t sound like a lot. It’s not. We literally get a nickel for every $10 you spend. That’s nothing.

But some of our members shop at Ralphs three or four times per week and the average bill can be anywhere from $20 to $100 per trip. That’s maybe fifty cents a week? Again, that doesn’t sound like much, but that adds up to $25 per year. Just from one person, and all at no additional cost to them.

Now multiply that $25 per year by just 50 people, and you have $1,250, or enough to cover our average marketing budget on a main stage show.

If you multiply that by the thousands of Ralphs shoppers that are on our Facebook, Twitter, and mailing list… suddenly we’re talking about being able to possibly cover an entire production with a year’s worth of contributions.

So, now that you see the benefit here, what do you do?

This literally takes 2 minutes. We know, because we’ve done it ourselves:

1) Go to http://www.Ralphs.com
2) If you don’t already have an account, create one.
3) Log in to your account on their site.
4) Register your Ralphs Rewards Card on your profile (you’ll need the number off the back of the card, or you may be able to look it up with your phone number).
4) Click “Community Rewards” on the left-hand menu
5) In the search field, enter “Theatre Unleashed”
6) We’re the first result. Click “Enroll” under our name.
7) Go shopping!

And that’s it! It really is that simple, and it works with other Kroger-family stores with Rewards Programs, so that means your family and friends that live in other regions can contribute, too! That includes:

  • Baker’s
  • City Market
  • Dillons
  • Food 4 Less
  • Foods Co
  • Fred Meyer
  • Fry’s
  • Gerbes
  • Harris Teeter
  • King Soopers
  • Jay C Food Store
  • Kroger
  • Owens Market
  • Pay-Less Super Markets
  • QFC
  • Ralphs
  • Smith’s Food and Drug

We’re here to put up the best theatre in Los Angeles. In order to do so, we need your help.

This is a really, really easy way to help.

Thank you.

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