The show follows the story of Ada Byron Lovelace, a brilliant but impulsive young girl, during the height of Britain’s Industrial Revolution. Reviled by society because of her infamous father, Ada struggles to accept her role in the world until she is introduced to inventor Charles Babbage, her soulmate, and his computing engines.

Ada, having found someone who truly understands her, unleashes her wonderfully creative intellect to create a world in which music, art, math and science are able to converge. This story is filled with romance, passion, friendship and dreams of a future that benefits the world.

The performance is directed by Dan Spiropoulos, who is in his second year of USD’s Master of Fine Arts program. Spiropoulos previously directed the one-act “The 146 Point Flame” in the spring of 2023.

“Ada Byron Lovelace is one of the most accomplished people in the STEM industry, yet her work is still being disputed by people claiming she was not a genius because she was a woman,” said Spiropoulos. “Women in STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] have given the world so many things that make up society today, and it all started with Ada. Her story needs to be told.”

Ellie Sweeney, a freshman musical theatre major, plays the titular Ada. Joining Sweeney onstage are seniors Parker Anderberg and Lydia Jae Saxton and junior Roland Meisler, all of whom previously graced the stage in “The Importance of Being Earnest” last season.

Many students are also working behinds the scenes to bring the show to life. Junior Connor von Rentzell designed the sound design, while sophomores Charlie Steele and Maddie Longstaff work on scenic design and lighting design, respectively.

“Ada and the Engine” performs Oct. 19-21 at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee performance on Oct. 22 at 2 p.m. in the Arena Theatre on the USD campus. Tickets ($15 Adults, $12 Senior Citizen [62+], $10 K-12 & non-USD students with ID, and free for USD students with ID) can be purchased between 12-5 p.m. at the USD Theatre Box Office or by calling (605) 658-3484. Tickets can also be purchased online.

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