PRESS RELEASE – Story Machine Productions launched

Published by Sam Ruddock on



  • Brings an alternative approach for the publishing industry to take books to audiences.
  • New Show, Life & Times of Michael K by J.M. Coetzee to premier at Edinburgh International Book Festival on 15th August.

Story Machine Productions (SMP) today announces its launch. The company will produce and tour shows and create electronic resources that bring books alive for audiences. SMP will revolutionise the experience of books at festivals through producing immersive performances in collaboration with filmmakers, dancers, actors, musicians and visual artists. SMP presents a creative new platform for publishers and authors to promote their books and stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Supported by Arts Council England, the European Regional Development Fund, the Booker Prize Foundation, National Centre for Writing, Norfolk & Norwich Festival, publishers and StartEast, SMP has received an enthusiastic welcome from the sector. The company has been commissioned by The Booker Prize Foundation, National Centre for Writing, Norfolk & Norwich Festival, and Granta Books in it’s first six months.

Commenting on the launch, Dotti Irving, Chief Executive Four Colman Getty which programmes the Man Booker Prize 50th anniversary celebrations said:
“Working with Story Machine Productions offers us a chance to broaden the reach of the Man Booker Prize’s 50th Birthday celebrations. J.M. Coetzee is one of only three writers to have won the prize on two occasions – this production creates a way of sharing one of the great books in the prize’shistory, and reach new and old audiences alike.”
Lamorna Elmer, Senior Campaign Manager, Granta and Portobello Books says:

“Story Machine Productions is doing something that almost no one else is – creating events without the presence of an author with the book itself firmly at the heart. There’s something very modern about these immersive, participatory experiences; they are blazing a much-needed trail.”

Dancer Sam Thompson carries a bison skull leading the audience through Norwich Castle Gardens as part of Kumkum Malhotra. Choreographed by Glasshouse Dance. Photograph credit Thom Law Photograhy

Sam Ruddock, Director of Story Machine Productions says:

“At a time when books profitable but author earnings continue to shrink, we can also help release writers from the chains of publicising their books, leaving more time for writing and other activities that earn money. Debut authors, writers struggling with ill-health, disability, caring responsibility, or who are based internationally: all of these struggle to get their books in front of audiences. That impacts choices about what gets published and what people buy. But by collaborating with Story Machine Productions, great books can reach the readers who will love them, regardless of the ability of their author to tour. We want to work with authors, publishers, prizes, festivals, exam bodies and even researchers to do for literature and human knowledge what Secret Cinema has done for film: create exciting celebrations of the written word.’


– Story Machine Productions will premier new show, Life & Times of Michael K by J.M. Coetzee at Edinburgh International Book Festival on 15th August, and tour shows to Cheltenham Literature Festival, National Centre for Writing, Wigtown Book Festival, and others this year. It aims to produce up to seven further shows in 2019.
– Other shows currently available include Whiskey & Ink, an exploration of alcoholism and writing based on Leslie Jamison’s genre-defining book The Recovering, and Kumkum Malhotra by Desmond Elliot Prize-winning author Preti Taneja. Each of these premiered at Norfolk & Norwich Festival in May 2018.
– Man Booker Prize-winning author Ben Okri has called Story Machine Productions ‘Wonderful’.
– The Times Literary Supplement reviewed Story Machine Productions as ‘joyous in tone, international in scope and direct in its confrontation with serious issues…festival producers should take note.’
– Preti Taneja described Kumkum Malhotra as ‘so beautiful it left me totally speechless.’
– Story Machine Productions was founded in early 2018 by Sam Ruddock. It has produced five shows to date. For more information see
or contact Sam Ruddock, Director, at 07943 063015.
– Story Machine Productions can be found on Social Media: Twitter and Instagram (@Story_Machines), Facebook and Youtube (Story Machine Productions).
– Promotional images are below. Hi-res images and promotional films can be supplied on request.
– Story Machine Productions has received Project Funding from Arts Council England.
– Story Machine Productions is receiving up to £5800 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 via the StartEast Small Grant Scheme. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for the European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regeneration. For more information visit

Story Machine Productions is proud to be supported by:


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