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Improbotics Presents Rosetta Code; Multi-lingual AI Improv!

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Rosetta Code, premiering at the Rich Mix Theatre on 8 & 10 November 2019 as part of Voilà! Europe – the London Festival of European Theatre – will be a multilingual improv show performed in nine languages. It will feature actors speaking in Arabic, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Norwegian and Swedish. 

This Tower of Babel will be made possible by the human connection between the actors, by their capacity to understand each other without words… and by state-of-the-art technology relying on real-time speech recognition and machine translation, enabled by artificial intelligence. Rosetta Code will echo the dreams of Douglas Adams’ Babel fish from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Will the wonders of AI enable human communication and mutual understanding? Or will the AI try to take over the show? Misunderstandings and deception will make for a completely improvised “Comedy of (Speech Recognition) Errors” (audience member). 

“It was very funny. And when it did not work, it was even funnier.” (Neil Delamere, Irish comedian, London 2017). “This could be revolutionary” (Broadway Baby, Brighton Fringe 2018). “If I was Introduced to a show like this as a kid I would have paid more attention to science class” (5 stars, Phoenix Remix, Brighton Fringe 2019). 

Creators Piotr Mirowski, a French citizen of Polish heritage who grew up in Zaïre and now lives in London, England, and Kory Mathewson, from Edmonton, Canada, both work as research scientists in AI and perform improvisational theatre. Mathewson is an award-winning comedian with Canadian theatre company Rapid Fire Theatre. Mirowski started improvising in French 20 years ago, before switching to English, and now also Italian and Polish. “Rosetta Code is a deeply personal project”, Mirowski says, “I have had to change my primary language three times in my life, just to be understood”. Mirowski and Mathewson met online, started collaborating in melding improvisation with artificial intelligence, and have taken robotics and theatre to a new level. They created Rosetta Code with Julian Faid and Matt Schuurman (Edmonton, Canada), Jenny Elfving (Stockholm, Sweden), Ben Verhoeven (Antwerp, Belgium), Mats Eldøen (Oslo, Norway) and Marouen Mraihi (London, UK). They have assembled a multinational cast of professional actors and improvisers, including Boyd Branch, Harry Turnbull, Holly Mallet, Paul Little, Rhiannon Jenkins, Roel Fos and Sarah Davies. Improbotics have been coached by improv legends Adam Megido (Showstoppers), Chris Mead and Katy Schutte (Project2). 

“Kory and Piotr boldly and hilariously go where no one has ever gone before: actual artificial intelligence improv. I will stick with artificial stupidity.” (Colin Mochrie, Canadian improv comedian, Edinburgh Fringe 2017). “Boundary-pushing science plus talented meatbags equals a standout improv Fringe experience.” (4 stars, Edmonton Fringe Review, 2018). 

Improbotics, a troupe based in Belgium, Canada, Sweden and the UK, is both an improvised theatre company and an international scientific experiment. The company has staged put on stage robots and an actual artificial intelligence-based chatbots, performing alongside human improvisers and professional theatre actors in thought-provoking comedy shows. They have been It was featured in the New York Times (8 Aug. 2018), Wall Street Journal (21 Sep. 2018), New Scientist (14 Sep. 2018), RTE One (11 Oct. 2017), Bloomberg (25 May 2018), Global News Canada (28 Sep. 2018). Improbotics is and it aims toat encourage encouraging an arts-meet-science interdisciplinary exploration of how actors can seamlessly perform while controlled by a machines and how to use AI as a tool for human creativity. 

For press inquiries, please contact: Piotr Mirowski, 07964 366 095, piotr.mirowski@computer.org, and Kory Mathewson, korymath@gmail.com, Website: https://improbotics.org Twitter: @Improbotics, @PiotrImprov and @KoryMath, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ImproboticsLtd Showtimes: Friday 8 November at 9pm and Sunday 10 November at 7:30pm Location: Rich Mix London at 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London, E1 6LA