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Can a robot and a theatre have something something in common?

100 years ago, the word “robot” was invented by the Czechoslovak brothers Karel and Josef Čapek. The word appeared for the first time in Karel’s theatre play titled R.U.R. premiered in 1921. The play is about humanoid robots who seem happy to work for humans at first, but later a robot rebellion leads to the extinction of the human race. The play achieved fast international success when it was performed not only in Prague but also in London, New York or Chicago.

Karel Čapek was one of the first people who thought of a potential threat if machine-robot inventions happen too fast or without regulation. Did he predict the threats of the 21st century? Or… aren’t robots a source of danger to us? So far, robots can perform many quite easy tasks, but we want to challenge them!

To celebrate the centenary of inventing the word “robot” we wanted to start a project to know if a robot can write a theatre play. Do you think artificial intelligence is able to create an enjoyable theatre script? Can a robot become a playwright like its own father Karel Čapek 100 years ago? We found out the answer on 26 February 2021 during a premiere of the first play written by AI titled “AI: When a Robot Writes a Play”. The play was watched on 18 450 devices (possibly by up to 30 000 people).

After the premiere, we allowed the public to see this play online for a few days. Then – when COVID-19 allows it – we will bring the production to the stage of Svanda theatre in Prague. And perhaps elsewhere upon discussion. The future of the project is still open but we will continue with the scientific research and then the premiere of a new play will be announced for 2022.

Why are we doing this? Most people do not know what today’s robots are capable of. Sometimes they fear robots’ abilities which are not real and sometimes they do not want to admit that we are surrounded by robots almost everywhere. We want to start a conversation about what robots of today can and cannot do and where they should and should not be used.

For more info see the the project's website here.


Martina Měšťanová
tel:+420 775 537 944
e-mail: mestanova (at)


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