Live Experiences

Story Machine brings books alive. We create unforgettable experiences where stories can be shared.

We work with actors, dancers, filmmakers, musicians, technologists, visual artists, and writers. Our productions are like no book event you’ve seen before.

We have created shows for chip shops and Antarctic huts, abandoned factories, parked cars and festival marquees. We’ve toured shows across the UK and made shows with Arts Council England, British Antarctic Survey, MAN Booker Prize, Granta Books, National Centre for Writing, and Penguin Random House.

Imagine better, imagine Story Machine Productions.

Our Productions

Deception Island

Inside Deception Island hut; c Adam Barnes

Step inside a replica Antarctic hut and be transported to Deception Island, a tiny caldera in the Antarctic Ocean, battered by the fiercest seas in the world and shaken by volcanic activity. Here the rusting remains of industrial whaling and a seabed littered with whalebones testify to mankind’s greed and brutality. But the island is also an outpost of scientific exploration, a witness to human attentiveness and fortitude.

Paperchains Live

Stories of lockdown from people with experience of prison, homelessness, addiction, and families of people in the armed forces.

These are stories from inside the Covid-19 storm. Powerful, often irreverent, heartfelt: words that history cannot forget. Through live performance, animation, film, and voice-over, Story Machine presents an anthology of lives that will step off the page to hold hands with you.

TLC – Why I Write

The Literary Consultancy presents four specially commissioned short films produced by Story Machine and featuring some of the UK’s most exciting writers, telling their story of how they became writers; and how you can too.

Cabin Conversations

In this series of video conversations Dan Richards – author of Outpost: A Journey to the Wild Ends of the Earth, an exploration of the appeal of far-flung outposts in mountains, tundra, forests, oceans and deserts – talks to artists and adventurers about life in remote spaces and the joys and challenges of living in the wilderness.

Amarantha Live

Welcome to Amarantha, where the queen is dead and Lyria’s voice has disappeared. Amarantha is brought to life through live reading and performance. Performed live by a 5-piece band and read by the author, the show transports audiences to Amarantha, and into the life of our heroine Lyria. Addressing themes of belonging, i/emigration, and anxiety, this is a wonderful experience for young people and adult audiences alike.

MANTOR: The Masculinity Conversations

MANTOR: The Masculinity Conversations. A podcast exploring masculinity in the 21st century. Hosted by James McDermott.

A podcast that asks: ‘what was your relationship with gender at 6? 16? 26? Now?’

James McDermott explores the many forms, messages, and experiences of masculinity in the 21st century. Through incisive, authentic, and compassionate conversations he digs into the challenges, pitfalls, privileges, and opportunities of being a mxn, and what it is like to live in a society dominated by men. A new podcast for anyone who has ever wanted to get under the skin of modern masculinity. 

PUSH: My Father, Polio, and Me by Sarah Passingham

PUSH: My Father, Polio, and Me by Sarah Passingham is a 'lion-hearted' production brought to life in dance, film, and live reading.

In 1952 three things happened to Proctor ‘Push’ Pulman: he narrowly missed out on qualifying to row in the Olympics; he married Diana. Six weeks later he contracted polio.

This is his story. Push the athlete paralysed by polio and tuberculosis. The engineer who found a solution whatever the problem. Push the family man: physically strong and emotionally resilient. Presented in dance, film, and live reading. 

LOWBORN (Down the Chipper)

LOWBORN (Down the Chipper) is a one-woman productions bringing Kerry Hudson's books Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma and Lowborn.

Kerry Hudson’s Lowborn is brought to life in chip shops, telling a powerful, darkly comic story of poverty and inequality in modern Britain.

Life & Times of Michael K by JM Coetzee

A production of JM Coetzee's MAN Booker Prize-Winning Novel. brought to life in film, sound, and performance.

In a country riven by war, Michael K sets out from his home in search of safety. As he walks through this fallen land in search of peace, he asks what it means to live in harmony with the land and the times we find ourselves in. Can we live a life of dignity when lies, division, and repression are all around us?

Featuring film, performance, and live reading, this is a powerful and immediate staging of a novel with huge contemporary significance. An immersive experience of a classic novel that explores our relationship with nature, and the search for inner harmony.

Whiskey & Ink

Whiskey & Ink is a Story Machine Production of Leslie Jamieson's addiction memoir The Recovering. Presented as a 12 step meeting with some of the greatest writers of all time.

A chorus of writers, including Stephen King, Jean Rhys, and David Foster Wallace join Leslie Jamison to ask whether genius can be found in the bottom of a glass. Whiskey & Ink is based on Leslie Jamison’s personal and profound book The Recovering, taking us inside the experience of alcoholism, exposing the contours and edges of an intoxicated life.

Whiskey & Ink is an AA meeting for those who have never been to one, where famous writers share their experience, strength, and hope for recovery.

Kumum Malhotra by Preti Taneja

A Story Machine Productions and Glass House Dance production, bringing Preti Taneja's Kumkum Malhotra alive in an outdoor dance piece.

Look how we disappear: from a family, from a life, from a story.

In a small house in India, Kumkum Malhotra prepares herself for the big evening ahead. Then an accident calls her down, and as she breaks a circle of boys, her carefully planned evening unveils and with it, her sense of self.

The Story Machine: Under Surveillance

Set in an old shoe factory, Story Machine: Under Surveillance presented 10 short stories on the theme of watching.

Work by 11 writers including Bandi, Carys Davies, Miriam Gamble, Tessa Hadley, Melissa Lee Houghton, William Letford, Andrew McMillan, Thomas Morris, Haruki Murakami, Ben Okri and KJ Orr.

Featuring a newly commissioned dance piece in collaboration with Glasshouse Dance, an audio experience of a Murakami story produced by Wet Picnic, actors from The Globe Education playing Don Quixote, and much more.

The Story Machine

The first story machine event. 18 short stories and works of poetry brought to life over an epic three-hour production.

18 short stories and works of poetry presented over three action-packed hours. Featuring work by Kevin Barry, Lucy Caldwell, Sarah Hall, Etgar Keret, Kirsty Logan, Katherine Mansfield, Jarred McGinnis, Jon McGregor, Anna Metcalfe, Claudia Rankine, Sally Rooney, and Mikhail Zoschenko.

Featured a waxwork leg of an executed poet laureate, Jon McGregor telling stories in a car, a cellar story about light, and Sarah Hall in surgical scrubs. All presented in a funhouse where the audience chose what to see, when.