The Machine Stops (2016-17)

Pilot Theatre and York Theatre Royal Present

A production of EM Forster’s classic short story The Machine Stops, toured spring 2017

Adapted for the stage by Neil Duffield

EM Forster is best known for his exquisite novels, but his short story masterpiece published in 1909 is astoundingly prophetic and poignant in 2016, and is a chilling prediction and exploration of our increasingly complex relationship with technology.

You talk as if a god had made the Machine,” cried the other. “I believe that you pray to it when you are unhappy. Men made it, do not forget that.

In a dystopian world where humans have retreated far underground, Kuno alone questions their now total dependency on technology to live and communicate with each other, but in his struggle to break out can he reach the Earth’s surface before the Machine stops?

Featuring a brand new soundtrack composed by John Foxx, pioneer of electronic music and founder of Ultravox, and analogue synth specialist, Benge.

Suitable for ages 11+

Running time: 1 hour 25 minutes, no interval


Thought-provoking production” British Theatre Guide

Chilling and claustrophobic” The Stage ****

It’s easy to see why York Theatre Royal and Pilot Theatre chose to adapt the piece and it is beautifully done.” Yorkshire Post ****

The Guardian ****

The Machine Stops is an absolute gem” A Younger Theatre

a story of science fiction told superbly artistically with humanity’s worst and best attributes thrust against each other.” York Press ****

A riveting glimpse at a future that’s already here.” The Mail on Sunday ****

a triumphant score of chest-crushing anxiety.” The Independent

North West End *****

Tour Dates & Venues

York Theatre Royal

10 – 18 February

Nottingham Lakeside

20 – 21 February

Broadway Theatre, Letchworth

22 – 23 February

Jacksons Lane, London

7 – 11 March

Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds

14 – 15 March

Mercury Theatre, Colchester

17 – 18 March

Cast, Doncaster

21 – 22 March

Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield

28 – 29 March

Northen Stage, Newcastle

30 March

Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

4 – 8 April

Education Resource

A free downloadable education pack has been created for this production to support teachers and students studying The Machine Stops.

The Machine Stops Edcuation Pack PDF

Cast and Creatives

  • Caroline Gruber


  • Adam Slynn

    Machine 1/Passenger

  • Gareth Aled

    Machine 1/Passenger

  • Karl Queensborough


  • Maria Gray

    Machine 2/Attendant

  • Ricky Butt


  • Rohan Nedd



Directed by Juliet Forster

Designed by Rhys Jarman

Music by John Foxx and Benge

Lighting designed by Tom Smith

Movement Direction by Philippa Vafadari


Maria Gray

Ricky Butt

Rohan Nedd

Adam Slynn