This month I will be talking to different acts that are taking part in the Brighton Fringe Festival. Today I speak to the improv team about their Artificial Intelligence show.
Location: The Rotunda Theatre: Bubble
Date: 26th – 29th May
Ticket Price: £12
Hello! Tell us about your act ?
Award-winning theatre troupe Improbotics presents Artificial Intelligence Improvisation. The show creators and developers are improv and AI nerds Dr. Piotr Mirowski, Dr. Kory Mathewson, and Dr. Boyd Branch, award-winning professional improvisers who explore the use of AI for creativity in improv and in human-machine interaction. Piotr and Kory pioneered improv comedy with robots in 2016 and toured internationally with that idea, from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe to art museums and tech conferences. Boyd is a Fulbright fellow who directs the Improvisational Media and Performance Lab at Coventry University and who invented tele-immersive improv during the pandemic.
For this show, they have assembled a multinational cast of professional actors, improvisers and comedians, including Ben Lovell, Em Stroud, Fiona Howat, Holly Mallet, Julie Flower, Jillian Ellis, Jodie Irvine, Marouen Mraihi, Mike Prior, Paul Little, Roel Fox, Sarah Davies and Thomas Jones.
How did you come up with the name of your show that you are taking to the Brighton fringe?
The show literally does what it says on the can. There is artificial intelligence in the show (it is one of the performers). And it is improvised. We have been using the same name since our first Brighton Fringe ever, back in 2017! However, the show itself has evolved dramatically! It started as twoprov with Piotr, Kory (threeprov if you include the robot) then evolved into a much larger show with many brilliant actors taking turns it in to become CYBORGS.
Tell us a little bit about your style of show?
Our show is a tech-infused improv and science comedy show… Human actors join artificial intelligence robots on a surreal trip, with a twist: the robots literally take control of the show! Some improvisers are controlled by artificial intelligence chatbots and can only say lines made up by AI! Wiill they pass the Turing Test?
What can people expect from your Brighton Fringe performance?
The unexpected! We are always creating, inventing and pushing boundaries, both in our improv and technologically, always with a comedic and entertaining touch!
What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at the fringe?
There are so many awesome improv acts at this year’s festival; in fact our coach Jenny Rowe published a blog post recently listing them all, which is really useful to read! We’d love to see and support as many of them as possible, plus our stand-up friends and oodles of theatre!
How are the rehearsals going?
Really well – we recently bought some really talented new cast members on board, and have been enjoying shaping the show using their skills to add to our vision and dynamic!
Have you done the fringe before? What have been some of your favourite shows to date and why?
Yep we’re old hands at it now! Our 2021 Brighton Fringe show felt pretty special/incredibly surreal as it was the first time that we’d performed in a large venue post-lockdown!
What advice would you give to others who want to perform at Brighton Fringe next year?
Plan plan plan! There’s a lot more admin in improv than anyone would dare to dream of (but you could try to delegate to a robot, hahaha). If you can visit potential venues and speak to past performers that’s really helpful too.
What is the best thing about performing at the Brighton fringe?
So much – it’s a pretty unique experience and atmosphere, in a beautiful location – we always feel inspired, exhausted and happy after our run!
What are your three favourite things about Brighton?
The creative atmosphere, the amazing places to eat and the beautiful beach!
Leafleting and promotion through the streets of Brighton is a huge part of the festival – what are your tips for flyering?
You’ve just got to put the hours in, preferably in a ridiculous costume! If you’re enjoying it and are passionate about your show, it can work wonders.
Tell us about your average day on a festival show run?
We always focus on making as much of a fun experience as possible, enjoying meals and drinks together as a cast! But of course there’s also a lot of hard work – rehearsing, flyering, performing (then of course, more eating and drinking).
Performing by the sea as well, that surely makes the fringe all that much more fun?
Absolutely! Last year we even braved getting our circuits wet to enjoy dips in the sea and fun on the pier; it’s brilliant!
Who would be your ultimate dream audience member?
Alan Turing, of course.
If people want to find out more about you where can they follow you on social media?
Website: https://improbotics.org, Twitter: @Improbotics, Facebook: @ImproboticsLtd, Instagram: @improbotics
And Finally finish this sentence – ‘you should see our show at Brighton Fringe because….
last year’s show was called ‘Groundbreaking work’ that ‘poses serious philosophical questions’ (Fringe Review, 2022) and this years’ is bigger and bolder than ever!
Categories: Brighton Fringe 2023, Improv, Interview
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