Ada and the Engine is a calculated success

Photo by Steven Osburn
Ada and the Engine is about a woman’s influence on early computers.


Ada and the Engine was being performed at the Branding Iron Theatre in the Sybil B. Harrington Fine Arts Complex from Nov. 14-16 starting at 7:30 pm and on Nov. 17 at 2:30 pm. The story is about a young Ada Byron Lovelace, daughter of the famous poet Lord Byron struggling under her strict mother who sees that she should not follow in her father’s footsteps. Despite being forced to study mathematics, Ada has the passion of a poet, and finds beauty in numbers and meets a man who intends to build the world’s first computing system. 

The acting was fantastic all around.  The emotion felt raw and real. A certain scene played out differently than I had thought it would, and it is all the better for it.  Having one of the strongest female characters put to the stage, I highly recommend this play. It is a story that deserves to be told, and it is told beautifully by the West Texas A&M Theatre Program.  

We are extremely proud of this production, ” said Assistant Professor of Theatre Callie Hisek. “I think these characters have also impacted these actors in terms of expressing themselves, finding joy in life and the world around them and to do what they have a passion for.”

Isabel Lyda, who played Ada, is more than capable of displaying a wide range of emotions.  “The more I understood why Ada would say something, the easier it was to understand how to say something and then the easier it became to understand the mind of who Ada was, is and could have been,” Lyda said. “Ada Lovelace was and is a remarkable woman of history. Yet, she seems to be forgotten like many other women throughout history who were forgotten simply because of who they were. And that’s really why this play is so irresistible.” 

Lyda was on stage for all of the play. Although it is exhausting and… I really feel quite blessed to be able to be on stage for so long. This is such an incredible play with some really great moments and I love being there for all of them,” Lyda said.

This is not a complete work of fiction.“This play touches on all of the little things that happened historically and even what could have happened as well,” said Student Assistant Director Alyssa Lauderdale. “The could haves are where the historical liberties have taken place.”  

The actors had to learn certain aspects of 19th century life in order to portray it accurately.  “The humor, sorrow, geekiness, and intensity are some of the feelings that the actors are going the extra mile to express, ” Lauderdale said.  The actors enjoy that this story is informing everyone of so many historical figures that otherwise, we may not have ever known about.”  

To tell a story about an influential woman who was barely mentioned in history textbooks is more than admirable.  It is important to understand, and appreciate how the engine changed the world. 

For more information about upcoming WTAMU productions, check out


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