Actors set to share the stage with a robot in new production

PUBLISHED: 12:00 27 January 2017

Steve Tanner

Steve Tanner

A robotics company has lent a helping hand to a production coming to Cambridge next month.

Engineered Arts, based in Cornwall, collaborated with Pipeline Theatre for its offering of Spilikin – a love story between a woman living with Alzheimer’s and her robot companion.

It’s the 1970s, and Sally likes Debbie Harry and Raymond likes making robots – an unlikely pair.

But fifty years later, after a long, childless and sometimes bumpy marriage, Sally has Alzheimer’s.

Before he died, Raymond created a robot and uploaded his memories to keep her company.

Now Sally is living out the ultimate love letter, interacting with an endless patient memory-jogger and singing partner.

But as Sally’s mind fades, audiences are forced to question whether the robot is more of a comfort or a threat, as well as facing up to big themes about love, death, and technology.

Alan Munden, artistic director and designer at the theatre company, said: “Making work about what you know or desire to better understand, I think lends it integrity.

“My mother has Alzheimer’s. I am frightened when I try to imagine her experience, but intrigued and excited to manifest it on stage, and wish I had the patience of a robot.”

The show has fetched rave reviews since its premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe, including a nomination for the prestigious Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award.

The third production for Pipeline Theatre, the company has also toured nationally with shows such as Transports and Streaming, both receiving four and five star reviews.

As well as Cambridge, the play will show at venues in Bristol, Leeds, and Shrewsbury, before heading onto the likes of London, Dorset, and Luton.

The Cambridge Junction will host the show on February 15 at 7.30pm, and tickets are £12.50 or 38 for concessions.

The show is expected to run for about 80 minutes and is suitable for anyone aged over 14.

To book, visit

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