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Created by Rob Drummond. Directed by Emily Reutlinger. A co-production with The Gaiety.

Best Production for Children and Young People: CATS Awards 2016

An interactive show aimed at eight to twelve-year-olds (and their parents), Uncanny Valley asks you, the audience, to interact with a ‘live’ robot to help futuristic science teacher Rob Drummond tell the story of Ada and her best friend OKAY (Outstandingly Knowledgable Android Youth).

You see OKAY is under threat of being terminated and the only way to stop this is to prove he or she is exactly the same as you or me. Watch as Ada creates and improves OKAY, join in by playing the role of Ada’s classmates, ask your very own questions to the robot and try to decide whether you think OKAY is nothing but electrical impulses and computer codes or … something more. Something almost human.

Whether you enjoy interacting, performing on stage or just sitting back and watching an exciting story unfold, this show will offer an insight into the past present and future of Artificial Intelligence and empower the audience to ask and answer some very big questions in an exciting and safe environment.

“Issue-based theatre is rarely as witty, thought-provoking or as open to audience reaction as this piece of theatre for children and young people.”

Commissioned by Edinburgh International Science Festival as part of the ‘Science In The Spotlight’ Initiative, in partnership with Imaginate and supported through the Scottish Governments’ Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund.


Dave // Rob Drummond (2016), Ross Allan (2017)

Ada // Pamela Reid

Davina // Kirsty Stuart (2016), Sarah McCardie (2017)

Creative Team

Director // Emily Reutlinger

Writer // Rob Drummond

Designer // Fergus Dunnet

Lighting Designer // Kate Bonney

Production Manager // Doug Paisley

Stage Manager (2016) // Natalie Welsh

Thanks to the following for their contributions to Uncanny Valley: James Garforth, Andrew Jeffrey and the Edinburgh International Science Festival staff, Kirstin McLean, Sarah McCardie, National Theatre of Scotland, Dundee Rep, Andrew McGregor, Black Light Edinburgh, Southside Studios, St Alberts Primary School, Playwrights’ Studio Scotland, Dave Shea and Tron Theatre, Louise Spence, Mihaela Bodlovic, Gianna Andrea Arni, Beth Woodruff, Fraser Emslie, James Gaffney.

In 2016…

29 -31 March // Summerhall Dissection Room, EDINBURGH

In 2017…

04 -08 April // Festival Theatre Studio, EDINBURGH

Both presented at the Edinburgh International Science Festival.

Reviews and Press

“Issue-based theatre is rarely as witty, thought-provoking or as open to audience reactions as this piece for children and young people. Drummond’s interaction with young audiences encourages them to explore, and voice, their own ideas about our relationship with technology and ongoing advances in artificial intelligence.” // CATS Award Judges

★★★★★ “This was a cracker of a show, for older kids and adults alike. I can’t find a way to fault it … It opened up an entire world of new conversation with my 12-year-old son on the walk home … a highly engaging and thoughtful show.” //  THE MUMBLE

★★★★ “Uncanny Valley is perfectly pitched as an educational piece aimed at young people, about the rise of Artificial Intelligence, which offers complex, challenging-for-all-ages moral questions.”  //  THE LIST

★★★★ “This fine and timely piece of interactive theatre for audiences aged eight and over deserves a long life, and an interesting one.” //   THE SCOTSMAN

★★★★ “This cannily crafted show is a gift to teachers, going where many young minds are keen to explore. It should be out on tour.” //  THE HEARLD

★★★★ “A fascinating, thought provoking production that speaks as much to grown-ups as it does to children … demonstrates that if you understand the underlying form, then science and theatre are great bedfellows, just as young children and big ideas can be.” //  ALL EDINBURGH THEATRE

★★★★ “A highly engaging, child-friendly exploration of what AI actually means.” //  BROADWAY BABY

★★★★  “Drummond has created a direct, immersive, thought provoking and entertaining show … a combination of wackiness and brilliant inventiveness” //  EDINBURGH GUIDE

“Educational and entertaining, well worth taking the kids to … Credit goes to the actors for keeping the performance engaging, with boundless energy creating big, bold characters that are instantly relatable.” //  EDINBURGH 49

Audience Feedback

From the kids…

“It was fantastically brilliant and everything should have the same rights as others, even artificial intelligence!” – aged 10

“I loved it. I want to see it again with my brother.” – aged 7

“Very Interesting.” – 11yrs

“Very good, I loved the song!”- 8yrs

From the BIG kids…

“I throughly enjoyed the show, very well thought out with a fantastic moral message. Great design! Great performances!”

“I did not expect the show to be so philosophically engaged and to have so much respect for its audience – genuinely challenging them, beautifully and patiently handled.”

“Very good science theatre. It was interesting and thought provoking. Nice one!”

“Excellent show, enjoyed interactive with the audience.”

“Very interesting and put across in amusing and entertaining way – loved the interaction with the audience.”

“Fun, interesting, good set.” “All of it was FAB-U-LOUS!”

“Throughly engaging, great fun and very funny.”

“Thought provoking and well tailored to target age.”

“I throughly enjoyed it and I wish something like OKAY was alive, that’s what the performance made me feel. Bravo.”

“I didn’t expect it to be so emotional – amazing!”  

Promotional Imagery

Photos by Louise Spence

Ada2aa AdaLogo Adaportrait-2 Mayor1logo Rob1


Production Images

Photos by Louise Spence




Rehearsal Photos

Photos by Louise Spence


We spoke to writer, Rob Drummond, director Emily Reutlinger and designer Fergus Dunnet about the process of creating Uncanny Valley.

Filmed by Beth Woodruff and Gianna Andrea Arni.


Time Lapse footage of the Tech Rehearsal, shot by Doug Paisley.

A Message From Rob Drummond

Thanks for coming to see our show about artificial intelligence.

If you’re reading this then you’re probably a kid between the ages of eight to twelve. Or maybe you’re slightly younger and your parents thought you were mature enough to come along anyway. Or maybe you’re a parent yourself. If you are a child then there will come a time fairly soon when you are face to face with a robot that looks and thinks exactly like a human being. This play is for you.

It asks you some pretty big questions about what it means to be a human being, and what it means to be a robot. And what the difference is. But it’s fun too, so don’t worry.

I’ve tried my best to write you an exciting story that treats you like the intelligent, future geniuses you have the potential to become. You’re not children, you’re adults in the making. You’re just like me, with the same fears, hopes and questions.

Enjoy the show and try to think hard about the answers to the questions we ask, because one day, you will be answering them for real.

Introduction to our Educational Resource Pack

The workshops, activities and resources within this pack are designed to assist young people aged 8-12 years old to explore the themes and issues raised in the performance, help them think about Artificial Intelligence (AI) in their lives, and how they can use AI in different ways. It will take examples from the play and discuss the Turing Test.

Mixing basic science with expressive arts activities and linking with the science, health and well-being and expressive arts CfE outcomes the users will be able to take part in a number of fun activities either on their own, or with their family and friends.

The workshops will involve practical exercises that will ask the users to put themselves in other people’s situations to think of other people’s feelings and to gain confidence in themselves.

It will help them to express ideas, to problem solve and to harness their creativity.

Download the pack: Uncanny Valley – Education Resource Pack Final PDF

Behind the Scenes

At our first set of workshops in October we investigated the world of Artificial Intelligence with the help of expert James Garforth. Safe to say, it left us with some pretty big questions to answer! 1 During our second set of workshops we visited the Glasgow Science Centre to take part in their ‘Robot Sidekicks’ workshop. 3 4 IMG_1752 Our first sneak peak at the 1st and 2nd Generations of Ada’s robotic friend, OKAY. 5

Site visit to Summerhall. 6 At the programme launch for Edinburgh International Science Festival 2016. 8 7 Our badges and flyers arrived, designed by the wonderful Mihaela Bodlovic. 10 9 Trailer filming in progress IMG_1941 Visiting St Alberts School StAlberts Packed up the rehearsal space and ready to travel to Edinburgh 11 First day of the Science Festival 12 13 14 15 16 OKAY, Emily and Rob at BBC being interviewed by Janice Forsyth. 17 And done! IMG_2174 OKAY returns to the Borderline Offices to get back to crunching some binary. 18 Uncanny Valley was nominated for ‘Best Production for Children and Young People’ at the 14th Annual ‘Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland’. This was the fourth nomination for Borderline Theatre, and the first received by The Gaiety. Ci02AIaW0AEqOC0.jpg-large We were delighted when Uncanny Valley was awarded ‘Best Production for Children and Young People’ at CATS 2016. 13394157_1099139690157879_8125636101017012709_n-2 CkwxnPGWYAAoQCM.jpg-large CkxCpqiXIAAiE4q.jpg-large CkxPBePXAAEkwiS.jpg-large thumbnail_CATS SELFIE

Touring Enquiries

Uncanny Valley is available for touring to theatres, schools, festivals and venues. To express interest in programming the show, or to find out more information, please contact Rishaad: rishaad@borderlinetheatre.co.uk

PDF: Uncanny Valley Promoter’s Pack

4A0A7894 Photo: Louise Spence

Borderline Theatre Company
c/o Gaiety Theatre
Carrick Street

Tel: 01292 288235 (option 8)
Email: enquiries@borderlinetheatre.co.uk

Scottish Registered Company: SC064588
Scottish Registered Charity: SC000564