machina eX has been exploring the interplay between theater and computer games since 2010. The Berlin-based collective emerged out of the cultural studies program at the University of Hildesheim and has been producing participatory game theater ever since. machina eX integrates modern technologies with elements of classical illusion theater to create playable theater pieces that are simultaneously accessible as computer games.
Since its founding, machina eX has produced about thirty games for German-speaking and international audiences, mostly for the theater, but also in museums and classrooms, in urban spaces, at Tempelhofer Feld, and in a medieval fortress. Starting in 2020, the collective also began developing online board games and Living Room Adventures.
machina eX celebrated its breakthrough in 2011 with the dystopian production 15.000 Gray at the 100° Berlin Festival, where the collective earned the Jury Prize. Invitations followed—to the 2012 Impulse Festival, the Körber-Studio Junge Regie, and the Zeitgeist-Festival at the Goethe Institute in Washington D.C., among others. Since then, machina eX has been working closely with the HAU (Hebbel am Ufer) Berlin, co-producing new pieces every year. The FFT Düsseldorf is another important partner. From 2012 to 2014, machina eX cooperated with the FFT in the German Federal Cultural Foundation’s Doppelpass residency program and continues to collaborate with them on guest performances, research projects, and co-productions.
In addition to its theater productions, machina eX develops software and digital tools for the cultural, educational, and handicraft sectors. In 2021/22, for example, the collective created two open-source tools as part of the MACHINA COMMONS project, which have been under continuous development ever since: the real-life game engine adaptor:ex and the storage management software dingsda 2mex, which are available free of charge to digitally-inclined artists, teachers, and anyone else who’s interested.
In 2020, machina eX received a four-year concept grant from the Berlin Senate Department of Culture and Civic Solidarity.
In 2019, machina eX earned the Tabori Prize from the Fonds Darstellende Künste.