I ran a camp last summer, Theatrical Robots, where kids created a script and programmed a Groma Robot to be an actor in a two minute film. The camp makes a return this spring on the After School Tuesdays @ Baden Academy beginning May 13. This semester I am partnering with two creative people in the county, Johnny Gallagher and Danielle Pollock who work both at Baden Academy and with the Rochester High School Play. Johnny and Danielle will be running a Musical Theatre camp while I’ll be upstairs with another group of kids who will program robots to join the choreography and final production.
Theatrical Robots are gaining ground in other parts of the world. Honda’s ASIMO conducted the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Hiroshi Ishiguro’s female android Geminoid-F acted in the Japanese play Sayonara. Louis-Philippe Demers’ robots danced in Australian Dance Theatre’s (ADT) Devolution. Theatrical elements are at play when robots make their appearance at technology fairs, art galleries, museums and even robot competitions.
Closely related to Theatrical Robots is the field of Animatronics, described as the art and science of designing and building animated sculptures and puppetry. Some College departments have run animatronics workshops for high school students and, of course, it is a big part of Disney’s Imagineering department.
I invite you to watch the short memorial video of Zina Nicole Lahr, one of the most creative animatronic programmers whose life was cut far too short. Consider sending your kids to one of our After School Tuesdays @ Baden Academy as you attempt to diagnose if they, too, suffer from creative compulsive disorder!