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  • Writer's pictureGaurav Singh

AI on Stage: Report on 6 months of artistic research

Table of Contents

Introduction 3

Exploration and Outcomes 6

AI in Theatrical Devising and Script Development 6

AI in Stage Design 8

AI in Voice, Music, Video, and Sound 9

AI in Movement and Choreography 14

AI as Creative Collaborator: Conversations 15

Technology for Artists: Recommendations 17

Script Writing, Editing, Adaptation and Translation 17

Dance, Choreography and Movement Design 18

Human Video (Cloning, Generation, Responsive Avatars) 18

Video Design and Generation for Projections and Media 19

Voiceovers, Voice Acting, (Text to Speech, Cloning, Generation) 19

Music and Video Design (Text to Music, Generation) 20

Image Generation for Stage Design, Light Design and Visual Design 21

Conclusion 22

Annexure - Interview Transcripts 24


Introduction

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming various fields, and theatre is no exception. The integration of AI in theatre promises to revolutionize traditional practices and open new avenues for creativity and innovation whilst at the same time it poses a risk to original, human creativity as it seeks to replace certain functions of the artistic process. 

As a theatre director, researcher and creative technologist, I have consistently integrated new media and technology in live theatre performances, such as audio and IVRS in Lifeline 99 99 (2021), live camera and green screen in Ollantay (2021) interactive web design in The Flabby Breasted Virgin & Other Sordid Tales (2022) and artificial intelligence in Climateprov (2023) and Mining Hate (2023). My previous work experience in the technology sector as well as my participation as an artistic researcher in programs like the German Chancellor Fellowship, BeFantastic India’s AI + Arts Fellowship and the Goethe Institut’s AI to Amplify Fellowship have further solidified my interest in undertaking dedicated research about AI and theatre. 

The use of text-based LLMs, GAN models for images, videos, voice, and music, in contemporary theatre practice raises a multitude of artistic, ethical and technological questions. This research aims to investigate the impact of AI in theatre and live performance, understanding how AI can influence the creative process, shape performance elements, and engage with audiences in real-time. While the global theatre community has been exploring AI's potential since 2015, its integration in the Indian theatre scene remains nascent. There is a little existing research focused on this area in Indian performance practice, hence this research seeks to be a primary study in this direction.  

With the support of the Parivartan Annual Grant for Research, this research has been undertaken by myself from October 2023 to May 2024. This report is a culmination of the research process, examinining the practical applications, challenges, and future prospects of AI in Indian theatre through the my own artistic practice in using AI for a wide variety of theatre and performance projects, as well as incorporating opinions from diverse theatre directors surveyed during the project research about their experiences with AI as a creative collaborator. The report also includes a Softwares Matrix that lists tools, platforms and other technologies available to artists who wish to use artificial intelligence in their work. 

As part of the research, here is a non-exhaustive list of activities were undertaken: 

  • Continuous exploration, development and use of artificial intelligence technologies by the researcher across various artistic projects 

  • Use of artificial intelligence for design, video and audio elements in the theatre production ABSURDO by Kaivalya Plays

  • Use of artificial intelligence for design and video elements in the theatre production THE SHUNYA THEORY by The ArtYard

  • Use of artificial intelligence for stage design in the theatre production THE PILLOWMAN by Kaivalya Plays

  • Use of artificial intelligence for script, design, video and audio elements in the production MINING HATE by Kaivalya Plays

  • Use of artificial intelligence for a voice-video AI bot in the production LA DANSE D’AMAZON by Rimini Protokoll

  • A closed-door workshop with performers and creative technologists for the production MINING HATE by Kaivalya Plays

  • A closed-door workshop with external participants of the Vjal Institute exploring artificial intelligence through improvisational theatre

  • Participation in a focused group study on "AI and Comedy Writing" by Google Deepmind

  • Survey of 11 contemporary theatre and performance makers in India on their experience of using artificial intelligence in live performance

  • Numerous unstructured, informal discussions with theatre and performance makers of the impact of AI on creative industries.


The theatre and performance makers surveyed and interacted with for this research include:

  • Akshay Raheja, New Delhi

  • Atul Kumar, Mumbai

  • Ayesha Susan Thomas, Bangalore / Belgrade

  • Blessin Varkey, Delhi

  • Chanakya Vyas, Bangalore / Mumbai

  • Harshita Luba Guha, Delhi

  • Manjari Kaul, Delhi

  • Meghana AT, Mumbai

  • Raghav Seth, Delhi

  • Tanvi Shah, Mumbai

  • Vaishali Bisht, Hyderabad

  • Varoon P. Anand, Delhi


I would like to acknowledge and thank the following for their contribution to this research project: the creative teams of performances MINING HATE, ABSURDO, THE SHUNYA THEORY, LA DANSE D’AMAZON, THE PILLOWMAN, CLIMATEPROV and others for being open to the use of artificial intelligence in the creative process and the individual artists who participated in the survey. 


Additionally, I would like to thank Shreya Nagarajan Singh, Priya Murle and Sneha Mahesh and the Parivartan Annual Grant for Research in the Performing Arts for their support, guidance and initiative to bring this research into the public domain.  


Gaurav Singh Nijjer

17th May 2024


Please note that all images, videos , audios and other forms of media, included as originals or as part of an AI-assisted process, remain the copyright of their original owners. No copyright infringement is intended. Any use is solely for an artistic, educational or non-commerical usage. In case of any issues, please contact the researcher at gauravnijjer@gmail.com for further information.



Exploration and Outcomes

As part of the practice-led research, I identified the following four areas in which artificial intelligence can be incorporated as part of the creation process of a live performance on stage. To support my research, I have included examples from my own artistic practice in the past 6 months where I have used artificial intelligence in the creative process. However I am only able to include a limited example of these depending on the availability of media and permissions in different contexts. 


AI in Theatrical Devising and Script Development

Perhaps one of the greatest usecases of AI in the context of live performance is its ability to generate ideas for scenes, characters and plots. In the domain of live theater, artificial intelligence is increasingly utilized for script writing, editing, adaptation, analysis, and translation tasks. 

With the help of dedicated softwares like Google Deepmind’s Dramatron or the less sophisticated ChatGPT, almost every theatre maker I surveyed or interacted with for the project professed to the use of large language models for script writing, generation, editing and development. AI demonstrates notable capabilities, including rapid script breakdowns, scene analysis, and emulation of renowned playwright styles. However, the integration of AI into theatrical processes entails both advantages and challenges. AI streamlines script-related tasks, offering efficiency and precision in script analysis and adaptation. It provides a valuable resource for theater practitioners, facilitating comprehension and modification of scripts for performance. Nonetheless, ethical and copyright concerns emerge, particularly regarding AI's ability to imitate specific playwrights' styles. This raises questions about intellectual property rights and artistic integrity, necessitating careful consideration in AI implementation. AI-driven language processing can facilitate seamless translation and adaptation of scripts, enabling multilingual performances and cross-cultural collaborations. This technology can enhance accessibility and broaden the reach of theatre productions, making them more inclusive and diverse.

In summary, while AI presents opportunities for enhanced productivity and creative exploration in live theater, its utilization requires vigilant attention to ethical standards and legal implications. Achieving a balance between leveraging AI's capabilities and upholding ethical principles is essential to foster innovation while respecting intellectual property rights within the theatrical community.

AI as a Performer and Deviser in Climateprov


Climateprov by Blessin Varkey, Gaurav Singh, Ranji David, Tajinder Singh Dhami with Tiz Creel, Monica Hirano, David McFarlane, supported by BeFantastic.


Climateprov is a first-of-its-kind interactive theatre performance that provokes a conversation about climate emergency through the humorous, absurd and intriguing interplay between human and AI performers using generative AI and human inputs. As an improvised theatrical performance, Climateprov does not have a fixed storyline or plot, but rather relies on the creativity and spontaneity of the performers to engage the audience in an absurd, and thought-provoking exploration of climate change through generative AI. The performance itself is interactive in nature and begins by introducing the human performers and the AI to the audience as well as the basic tenets of improvisational theatre. The performers then ask the audience for suggestions like a fictional climate crisis facing their city in the future or a recent news headline they read about climate change, the AI and human performers then improvise together in real-time to craft playful narratives that offer a unique perspective on the subject. Through fun games and story structures, the human performers lead the AI and even, vice versa. At one point the AI takes over completely, leading to some memorable moments on stage. The show is powered by a customised technical application and design built by the artists, that is still being perfected to uncover new possibilities of play. In improv, the use of audience suggestions (ie an input) to spontaneously create a story (ie an output) has many parallels with how artificial intelligence also functions. Improv’s nature to extrapolate meaning from seemingly unconnected prompts and generate a cohesive story is similar to how a generative AI model also works. Climateprov uses a custom-built AI application that integrates speech recognition, text generation models like GPT3 and GPT 3.5, and text-to-image generation models such as DALLE and Stable Diffusion. The team initially explored using other models like GPT2 and BERT for specific Improv games and scenes, but they were eventually replaced with newer models that produced faster and better results. The AI is then visualized and presented to the audience on the stage, allowing them to have a visual reference of the technology and interact with it in real time. 

I also had a chance to participate in an AI for Comedy Writing focus group by Google Deepmind, wherein we used three large language models (LLMs) to generate comedic outputs, a glimpse of which can be seen HERE


AI in Stage Design

Many designers in live performance are moving towards an AI-assisted design process. Image generation technologies as DALL-E 2, Microsoft Image Creator, Midjourney, Canva, and Pixlr, offer performance makers powerful capabilities for generating visual content quickly and efficiently. Advantages include the ability to explore a wide range of visual concepts and aesthetics, facilitating experimentation and creativity in design processes. Moreover, AI-driven image generation tools can streamline production workflows, enabling designers to achieve complex visual effects and dynamic stage environments with relative ease. However, alongside these advantages, concerns arise regarding the authenticity and originality of AI-generated imagery. Critics often highlight the risk of producing generic or derivative visuals that lack the unique artistic touch and emotional resonance characteristic of human-designed creations. Furthermore, there are ethical considerations surrounding the use of AI algorithms for image generation, including issues related to bias, representation, and privacy. Additionally, the accessibility and simplicity of AI-based design platforms may inadvertently contribute to a homogenization of visual aesthetics, potentially limiting the diversity and richness of visual experiences in live performances.

Stage Design for The Pillowman by Kaivalya Plays


The Pillowman is an upcoming stage production by the Delhi-based Kaivalya Plays that examines the role of a writer in the backdrop of a totalitarian society. As a designer on the project, we had extensive rounds of discussion on ideas for the stage design that incorporates books, chairs and a table as a central element. The images above were generated using Microsoft’s Image Creator and then further edited on Canva to create a realistic rendition of what the stage would look like. As next steps, the design would be solidified further and then broken down into specific components to be shown to a local carpenter for execution. 


Interactive Stage Elements in Mining Hate by Kaivalya Plays

Mining Hate is an interactive theatre performance by Kaivalya Plays built with audience-generated content that seeks to create awareness of the practices used by anonymous hackers to target journalists and minorities in India to spread misinformation. Using documentary andimprovisational theatre as well as creative coding and generative AI, the show has interactive elements for audiences that rely on real-time AI models to provoke action and participation.

 


In one part of performance, we use a real-time AI model that captures audience images using the emails they provided and then transposes their face onto a different background based on a text prompt. This workflow, whilst done in “good fun” and with the audiences “know how” begins as a comedic endeavour, but soon turns into a questionable exercise where we begin transposing the audience’s image into more dangerous scenarios, thereby telling them about the insidious nature of AI and what can happen if the technology falls into the wrong hands. 

Meghana AT also provides a practical example of AI's integration in stage design through her performance "Plan B, C, D or E." where she utilizes an AI-driven interactive map to visualize climate change predictions, making the political personal for her audience. Meghana's use of AI demonstrates how technology can create powerful, immersive experiences that resonate on a personal level.


AI in Voice, Music, Video, and Sound

The integration of technology into live performances has opened up new avenues for artistic expression, prompting discussions surrounding the use of video clones as substitutes for human actors. Video cloning involves the creation of lifelike digital representations of individuals through advanced computer-generated imagery (CGI) and artificial intelligence technologies. This innovative approach presents both opportunities and challenges, evoking contrasting perspectives within the artistic community. Proponents of video clones argue that they offer numerous benefits to live performances. Firstly, video clones can enable productions to overcome logistical challenges associated with casting, scheduling, and rehearsals, potentially reducing production costs and streamlining the creative process. Additionally, video clones provide opportunities for artistic experimentation, allowing creators to explore unconventional narratives, characters, and visual aesthetics that may be unattainable with traditional actors. Moreover, video clones offer greater control over performance consistency and precision, eliminating variations in live acting and ensuring uniformity across multiple shows. Proponents of video clones argue that they offer numerous benefits to live performances. Firstly, video clones can enable productions to overcome logistical challenges associated with casting, scheduling, and rehearsals, potentially reducing production costs and streamlining the creative process. Additionally, video clones provide opportunities for artistic experimentation, allowing creators to explore unconventional narratives, characters, and visual aesthetics that may be unattainable with traditional actors. Moreover, video clones offer greater control over performance consistency and precision, eliminating variations in live acting and ensuring uniformity across multiple shows. In navigating the use of video clones in live performances, theater practitioners are tasked with striking a balance between innovation and tradition, weighing the creative possibilities enabled by technology against the preservation of fundamental theatrical principles.


In contemporary live performance production, the incorporation of AI technology into projection and video design has become increasingly prevalent, offering practical benefits and raising important considerations. One significant advantage is the time and cost-saving potential of AI-driven tools for generating quick drafts and prototypes. By automating tasks such as video synthesis, editing, and effects generation, these tools streamline the creative process, allowing for rapid experimentation and iteration. Moreover, the accessibility of publicly available video footage and AI algorithms facilitates the integration of diverse visual elements into productions, enriching storytelling possibilities. However, alongside these advantages, concerns about copyright infringement and ethical usage of AI-generated content arise, prompting practitioners to navigate legal and ethical considerations when sourcing and manipulating video materials. This balanced approach recognizes the practical efficiencies AI technology brings to live performance design while acknowledging the complexities surrounding intellectual property rights and ethical usage.




Creation of a Audio-Video AI Bot for the production La Danse D’Amazon by Rimini Protokoll


Whilst working with the Berlin-based Rimini Protokoll, I had a chance to contribute to their performance project La Danse D’Amazon, which explores the growth and proliferation of e-commerce and gig economy, specifically Amazon, and its impact on the lives of people that find themselves in its ecosystem. For the performance, the director Daniel Wetzel and the team interviewed several stakeholders, employees, customers, consultants and individuals with a connection to Amazon. During the production process, they also studied many videos and books about Jeff Bezos. Eventually they wanted to bring this research into the live performance, and decided to create an AI-based audio-video bot of Jeff Bezos that can be used to make  custom deepfake videos of Jeff Bezos that could be shown in the performance. 


Using the API keys of platforms PlayHT and Gooey.ai, I built a text-based interface for the production team using Google Colab where they could enter a video link of Jeff Bezos talking to the camera and custom text. After hitting enter, the workflow would give them a deepfake video that looks and sounds like Jeff Bezos, saying the custom text entered by the team. The goal here was not to make this deepfake video look ultra-realistic, but play with the doubt that it might be real (or it might be fake) in the audience’s mind. 

(Please note the above likeness of the individual was used strictly for an artistic, non-commercial usage that was also communicated as an AI-generated video. All copyrights  remain with their respective owners.)

The integration of AI tools and technologies for voiceovers and voice acting presents both opportunities and challenges in live performance contexts. On the positive side, these systems offer the capability to create highly realistic and customizable voices, potentially enhancing the auditory experience for audiences. Platforms like PlayHT, ElevenLabs, and Resemble.ai enable performers and directors to generate unique voice profiles tailored to specific characters or scenes, providing a new level of creative control. Additionally, AI-powered voice acting tools such as Replica Studios offer dynamic and expressive vocal performances that can be seamlessly incorporated into live shows, potentially streamlining production processes. However, there are also considerations to be aware of. AI-generated voices may lack the nuance and emotional depth of human performances, potentially detracting from the authenticity of live performance. There are also concerns about the ethical implications of AI-generated content, including issues related to consent, ownership, and representation – most importantly around voice clones. 

AI-Generated Voiceovers and Videos for ABSURDO, a production by Kaivalya Plays


Kaivalya Plays’ production ABSURDO features a collection of short stories by 3 absurdist writers from Latin America. 


One of the stories, titled ‘Meat’ (Spanish: Carne) by the Cuban writer Virgilio Piñera recounts the story of a small town that turns towards practical cannibalism in the event of an acute meat shortage. The story, originally written in Spanish and read by us in English, was translated into Hindi with the help of Google Translate and human translators. 


The Hindi text was then converted into a vintage Doordarshan-sounding radio broadcast voiceover that was created using the AI voice software Eleven Labs and the VoiceChanger website. The deadpan, almost non-human delivery of the AI-generated voice complemented the story whilst its quality, breath and pauses still created room for doubt in the audience’s mind.  


You can hear the AI-generated voicover used in the performance HERE.


For another text in the performance called “You Have The Eyes of a Femme Fatal” (Spanish: Tu Tienes Ojos de una Mujer Fatal”), the video projections were designed using images generated from Dall E 2. This complemented the larger story, where an AI dating coach was helping the main characters find suitable matches for themselves. You can watch an excerpt of it HERE.

The use artificial intelligence ( technology in music and sound design presents a multifaceted dynamic, marked by both advantages and challenges. On one hand, AI-powered tools offer a remarkable capacity for quick turnaround times and streamlined workflows, enabling artists to experiment with musical elements and soundscapes efficiently. This accelerated creative process opens doors to innovative compositions and dynamic auditory experiences, enhancing the overall quality and depth of live performances. However, alongside these benefits, concerns arise regarding the originality and uniqueness of AI-generated music, with some noting a tendency towards a lack of "new" sounds and a potential for repetitiveness in compositions. Additionally, the accessibility and ease of use of AI-driven platforms may inadvertently lead to issues surrounding copyright infringement and intellectual property rights, as well as ethical considerations regarding the sourcing and manipulation of pre-existing musical material. 

AI in Movement and Choreography

AI-generated algorithms can influence the physicality and gestures of performers, introducing new dimensions to choreographic vocabulary. By utilizing computer vision models, theatre makers can explore innovative approaches to movement and choreography, pushing the boundaries of traditional performance techniques. Whereas I did not come across specific examples of the use of real-time AI in movement and choreography in an Indian context, one dance/theatre piece that utilizes AI in its design is Hallucinations of an Artifact by Mandeep Raikhy that brings the Dancing Girl figurine from the Indus Valley civilization (c. 2300-1750 BCE) to life through dance and artificial intelligence.

While AI tools specifically designed for choreography and movement are less common compared to other areas, there are a few emerging technologies and software that leverage AI for these purposes. The main challenges in incorporate an AI-assisted or AI-led movement design is that most models are not trained on accurate datasets that capture movements. Whilst you could prompt a text-based large language model to give you a series of movements described in text, it is difficult to capture the nuances of motion, pace, rhythm, tension and other corporeal elements in movement using an AI. However there are some developments in computer vision and movement capture technologies that offer performance makers some interesting tools to play around with, but these technologies in their current form stop short of generating or suggesting movement, only capable of recording data for further manipulation by other softwares. 




AI as Creative Collaborator: Conversations


As part of the research, I began creating a list of theatre and performance makers, collectives and artists who are utilizing artificial intelligence in live performance in India. Admittedly, this was a challenge as the integration of AI in the artistic process is still not as widespread as I’d imagined it to be. Hence I decided to change my approach and reach out to a wide variety of theatre and performance makers about their thoughts on AI as a creative collaborator in live performance. 


Here are brief summaries of the interviews, whilst their detailed responses are outlined in the transcript at the end of this report:


Atul Kumar: Hasn't used AI in plays but participated in a play where audience interaction via AI occurred, expressing interest in AI's potential in performing arts. Interested in exploring uncharted territories in performance rather than traditional approaches. Excited about embracing AI in theatre and hopes it will change the concept of performing arts, challenging values and moralities.


Akshay Raheja: Utilizes ChatGPT and image generation software for creative purposes, including scriptwriting and promotional content creation. Believes AI's impact depends on creative interpretation, sees potential for administrative support but doubts its ability to match human creativity. Finds AI useful for repetitive tasks and non-dramaturgical elements in theatre, considers its suitability based on context and content relevance.


Ayesha Susan Thomas: Hasn't utilized AI in performance due to a preference for human interaction and skepticism about its ability to enhance creativity. Sees potential for AI in administrative tasks like scheduling and data management but not in creative collaboration. Views AI as a resource for functional tasks but believes human creativity is essential for meaningful artistic expression.


Chanakya Vyas: Hasn't used AI in theatre but recognizes its potential in streamlining administrative tasks and improving efficiency. Sees AI as a useful tool for tasks like scriptwriting, scheduling, and data management, enhancing productivity in theatre production. Views AI as a valuable resource for supporting creative processes but emphasizes the importance of human creativity in shaping meaningful artistic experiences.


Manjari Kaul: Hasn't used AI yet but recognizes its potential in streamlining administrative tasks and sees it as an ally rather than a threat. Considers AI useful for tasks like scriptwriting, set design, and budgeting, enhancing efficiency in theatre production. Views AI as a tool to support creative processes and improve productivity, believing in its potential to augment human creativity.


Meghana AT: Utilizes AI in performance, specifically an interactive map for a show on climate change, acknowledging its limitations and the need for caution. Views AI as a useful tool for creating emotional impact in performance, particularly in making the climate crisis personal. Doesn't currently see AI being utilized in other aspects of theatre due to negative experiences with AI-generated design and text.


Raghav Seth: Has not used AI yet due to a sense of ownership in creative work but remains open to it for future inspiration. Sees potential for AI in text and set design with precise framing of prompts. Views AI as a tool to develop ideas further but not as a primary means of creation or development.


Tanvi Shah: Hasn't used AI in performance due to a preference for human interaction and skepticism about AI's contribution to insight and knowledge. Sees AI potentially useful for managerial tasks like contracts and intellectual property in theatre but not for creative collaboration. Views AI as a resource bank for functional, non-creative tasks rather than a collaborator or adversary in creativity.


Vaishali Bisht: Hasn't used AI in performance yet, questioning its output as artificial intelligence versus natural stupidity. Sees potential for AI in set and lighting design due to its faster processing capabilities. Views AI as a tool effective only in the hands of skilled users, primarily for asking questions and providing instructions.


Varoon P. Anand: Utilizes ChatGPT extensively for scriptwriting, idea generation, and administrative tasks like budgeting. Views AI as crucial in both artistic and administrative aspects, aiding in scriptwriting, rewriting, and administrative tasks like meeting summaries. Perceives AI as a capable but imperfect tool, guiding its use as a teacher guides a student through a creative process.


In addition to the above, I was engaged in artistic development processes with Blessin Varkey for the show CLIMATEPROV and with Harshita Luba Guha for the show THE SHUNYA THEORY, where artificial intelligence was used in video and projection design, visual design as well as audio-video performer. However these conversations were not recorded or transcribed, but the topics discussed have found their way into this report elsewhere. Hence I would also like to acknowledge them for their contribution to this research. 


Technology for Artists: Recommendations


Script Writing, Editing, Adaptation and Translation

Here are some technologies (softwares, tools, models, platforms) available for use in this context:

  1. ChatGPT: An advanced AI language model by OpenAI that can assist with generating dialogue, plot ideas, scriptwriting, editing, and even translation. 

  2. Dramatron: Uses existing, pre-trained large language models to generate long, coherent text and could be useful for authors for co-writing theatre scripts and screenplays. Dramatron uses hierarchical story generation for consistency across the generated text. 

  3. Gemini: Google's AI tool that helps with creative writing, including scriptwriting, editing, adaptation, and translation, offering a versatile range of language capabilities. 

  4. Claude: An AI assistant by Anthropic designed to aid in writing, editing, and generating creative content, useful for theatre scripts. 

  5.  Sudowrite: An AI tool focused on creative writing, providing features for plot development, dialogue generation, and enhancing scriptwriting.

  6. Grammarly: Uses AI to improve grammar, style, and clarity, making it ideal for script editing and refinement. 

  7. Hemingway Editor: An AI-based editing tool that enhances readability and conciseness in writing, useful for script editing. 

  8. ProWritingAid: Offers comprehensive AI-driven editing reports on grammar, style, and readability, aiding in the script editing process. 

  9. Custom LLMs (Large Language Models): Tailored AI models that can be fine-tuned for specific adaptation needs, helping to adapt scripts to different styles or formats.

  10. DeepL: Known for its high accuracy, this AI translation tool is useful for translating scripts while maintaining meaning and nuance. 

  11. Google Translate: An AI-based translation service that supports a variety of languages, suitable for initial script translations. 

Dance, Choreography and Movement Design

Here are some technologies (softwares, tools, models, platforms) available for use in this context:


  1. AI Choreographer by Google: This AI tool leverages machine learning algorithms to generate dance sequences based on music inputs, helping choreographers with innovative movement ideas.

  2. Dance Dance Convolution (DDC): An AI model developed to create dance movements by analyzing the rhythm and patterns in music tracks, aiding in choreographic creation. 

  3. DeepDance: Combines deep learning techniques to produce realistic and diverse dance movements from music, providing choreographers with fresh inspiration. 

  4. OpenPose: An open-source project by Carnegie Mellon University that provides real-time multi-person keypoint detection, useful for movement analysis and choreography refinement. 

  5. DeepMotion: Offers AI-based motion capture and analysis, converting video footage into 3D animations that can be used for choreographic purposes and movement studies. 

  6. Notch: A comprehensive software for real-time motion capture and interactive movement analysis, enabling precise tracking and visualization of movements for choreography. 

  7. MoveNet: Developed by TensorFlow, this model provides fast and accurate human pose estimation, ideal for detecting and tracking body movements in real-time for choreographic applications.


Human Video (Cloning, Generation, Responsive Avatars)

Here are some technologies (softwares, tools, models, platforms) available for use in this context:

  • HeyGen: AI-based video cloning tool that allows users to manipulate and alter video content using deep learning techniques.

  • DeepFaceLab: Advanced software for deepfake creation and manipulation, offering a range of features for video cloning. 

  • Avatarify: AI-driven software for real-time face swapping in videos, enabling users to create realistic video clones. 

  • Synthesia: Platform for creating AI-generated videos with synthetic presenters, offering customizable avatars and automated video production. 

  •  D.ID: Specializes in AI-generated avatars for various applications, including video content creation, virtual assistants, and personalized experiences.

  • Adobe Character Animator: Integrates AI-driven animation features for creating interactive avatars and character animations. 

Video Design and Generation for Projections and Media

Here are some technologies (softwares, tools, models, platforms) available for use in this context:


Voiceovers, Voice Acting, (Text to Speech, Cloning, Generation)

Here are some technologies (softwares, tools, models, platforms) available for use in this context:

  1. PlayHT: Offers advanced text-to-speech and voice cloning capabilities, enabling the creation of high-quality, realistic voices for various applications. 

  2. ElevenLabs: Provides cutting-edge voice cloning and synthesis technology, capable of producing lifelike speech and custom voice profiles. 

  3. Wavel.ai: Specializes in multilingual voice cloning with options for customization, allowing users to create unique voice profiles tailored to their needs. 

  4. Resemble.ai: Delivers high-accuracy voice cloning and synthesis, with an emphasis on capturing emotional range and versatility in voice applications. 

  5. Replica Studios: AI-powered voice acting and cloning platform that generates realistic voiceovers and character voices for various media. 

  6.  VocaliD: Uses AI to create custom voices, providing unique vocal identities for branding, character design, and more.

  7.  iSpeech: Text-to-speech and voice cloning service that offers natural-sounding voices for a wide range of applications.

  8. Descript Overdub: Allows users to clone their own voice and integrate it seamlessly into audio editing projects, making it ideal for voice design. 

  9. Sonantic: Focuses on creating high-quality, emotionally expressive synthetic voices, particularly for the entertainment and gaming industries. 

Music and Video Design (Text to Music, Generation) 

Here are some technologies (softwares, tools, models, platforms) available for use in this context:

  1. Soundraw: An AI-driven platform for music composition and sound design, offering intuitive tools and customizable music samples. 

  2. Beatoven.ai: Specializes in AI-generated music composition, providing users with a diverse range of musical styles and arrangements. 

  3. Jukebox: Developed by OpenAI, Jukebox is an AI model capable of generating music in various genres and styles based on user inputs.

  4. Soundful: Offers AI-generated soundscapes and music compositions for diverse applications, including live performances and multimedia projects. 

  5. AIVA.ai: AIVA (Artificial Intelligence Virtual Artist) is an AI-powered composer that creates original music compositions tailored to user preferences and emotions. 

  6. Suno: Suno provides AI-generated music tracks and sound effects for video content, live performances, and other creative projects. 

  7. Boomy: Boomy is a platform that enables users to create AI-generated music tracks and remixes using customizable templates and tools. 

Image Generation for Stage Design, Light Design and Visual Design

Here are some technologies (softwares, tools, models, platforms) available for use in this context:

  • DALL-E 2: An AI model developed by OpenAI, capable of generating diverse and high-quality images from textual descriptions. It serves as a valuable tool for visual ideation and conceptualization in stage and theatre design. 

  • Microsoft Image Creator: An AI-powered tool designed to assist users in creating custom images for various purposes, including stage and theatre design. Offering a range of features for image manipulation and enhancement, it facilitates the creation of visually engaging designs

  • Midjourney is a software platform tailored for stage and theatre design, providing a suite of tools for 3D modeling, rendering, and visualization. It enables designers to create immersive stage environments and lighting effects, enhancing the overall production quality. 

  • Canva is a versatile design platform offering a wide range of design templates, graphics, and editing tools. While not specific to stage design, it provides customizable elements that can be used for creating promotional materials, set designs, and visual presentations for theatre productions. 



Conclusion


The integration of AI in Indian theatre presents both exciting opportunities and significant challenges. Theatre has long been a realm where human creativity, expression, and interaction are paramount. However, the advent of artificial intelligence presents both opportunities and challenges for this traditional art form. As AI technology becomes more integrated into theatre, it raises crucial ethical considerations that need to be thoughtfully addressed. Issues of authorship, performer autonomy, and informed consent are at the forefront of these discussions. Theatre directors must implement measures to safeguard these principles, ensuring that AI is used responsibly and ethically while maintaining the integrity of their art.

Authorship and Intellectual Property

One of the primary ethical concerns with AI in theatre is the question of authorship. AI tools like ChatGPT can generate scripts, suggest plot developments, and even mimic the writing style of famous authors. Some directors have found it easier to refine and polish existing content with the help of AI rather than creating from scratch. However, this blurs the line between human creativity and machine assistance. Who is the true author of a piece that has been significantly shaped by AI? This question becomes even more complex when AI-generated content is indistinguishable from human-created work.

To address this, theatre directors should establish clear guidelines on crediting AI contributions. Transparency about the extent of AI involvement in the creation process is essential. This not only respects the intellectual property rights of all contributors but also maintains the audience's trust in the authenticity of the performance.

Performer Autonomy

The use of AI in theatre also raises concerns about performer autonomy. AI can potentially influence various aspects of a production, from scriptwriting to set design and even live interactions with the audience. While AI innovations can enhance the theatrical experience, they also pose the risk of reducing the performer’s control over their craft.

Performers must have a say in how AI is used in their productions. Informed consent is crucial; actors should be fully aware of how AI will interact with their performance and the potential implications. Directors should involve performers in the decision-making process, ensuring that AI is used to support and not overshadow their artistic contributions.

Informed Consent

Informed consent is a fundamental ethical principle that must be upheld in the integration of AI in theatre. The importance of human interaction and skepticism about AI's ability to enhance creativity are significant considerations. This perspective underscores the need for transparency and dialogue when introducing AI into a production.

Directors should ensure that all team members, from actors to technical staff, understand the role of AI in the production. This includes explaining the capabilities and limitations of the technology, as well as any potential risks. Open communication fosters a collaborative environment where ethical considerations are prioritized, and everyone involved feels respected and informed.

Safeguarding Ethical Principles

To responsibly integrate AI into theatre, directors must implement measures to safeguard ethical principles. This involves:

  1. Clear Attribution: Clearly attribute AI contributions to distinguish between human and machine-generated content.

  2. Collaborative Decision-Making: Involve performers and staff in decisions about AI use, ensuring their autonomy and input are respected.

  3. Transparent Communication: Maintain open lines of communication about how AI will be used, its benefits, and potential drawbacks.

  4. Ethical Guidelines: Develop and adhere to ethical guidelines that address authorship, consent, and the impact of AI on creative processes.

By taking these steps, theatre directors can embrace technological advancements without compromising the core values of their art. The integration of AI in theatre holds immense potential to enhance creativity and efficiency. However, it must be approached with a commitment to ethical responsibility, ensuring that the human element remains at the heart of theatrical expression. 

The future of AI in Indian theatre will be shaped by how effectively artists balance technological innovation with ethical considerations, ensuring that the essence of theatre remains intact while exploring new horizons.


Annexure - Interview Transcripts

Questionnaire: 


1) Have you used any sort of AI (ChatGPT, image generation..) in your creative process whilst making a stage performance? If yes, please tell us more. If not, why not - what’s been an impediment. 


2) Of all the different elements and processes of making a performance – set design / text / lights / acting –  where do you see AI coming into the process, if at all?  


3) What is your general relationship to AI - do you see it more as a tool? a creative collaborator? an adversary? I ask in the context of your work in the creative and arts industry


Varoon P. Anand, Theatre Director, New Delhi:

Yes, I have begun using CHATGPT quite extensively. As a writer, I use it to help me structure the ideas I want to write. I find it much easier to edit a script than to write one from scratch. Chat GPT and other LLMs are able to follow my instructions and also help me edit, so I can really enjoy the process of, what becomes, editing my own script. Additionally, I have used CHATGPT as a training system when I need to generate ideas. Since a lot of my work is in improvisation, LLMs can quickly generate ideas for spaces, relationships, and even write songs that I can then try to play out in scenes. Beyond that it has also become a solid partner in helping me write out concept notes, or ideas for stage and lighting design as well as to help structure and evaluate budgetary requirements. ⁠I see AI, so far, as crucial in every aspect whether artistic or administrative. AI can be instructed to write in the voice of any author and I have seen it take a piece of writing of mine that is repetitive and clunky and re-write it in the style of George Orwell and suddenly become polished. I also used it to adapt a murder mystery where I lost two performers days before the show. AI was able to re-write my mystery while still keeping loose ends and motivations thought through, something which would have taken me days of work. On the administrative end, AI summaries of meetings, which turn audio into text are also necessary for my work now. I see AI as a student with great capability, who does not mind that I take credit for or use what it generates. I see myself as an engineer who is using a tool to create my own ideas. But there is a disconcerting feeling seeing so much content generated by prompts. And there is a feeling of being an imposter when I throw in several ideas in a jumble and have them appear back to me in far more organised and clear structures. But at the same time AI can be frustrating, it makes a lot of mistakes, doesn't always follow directions and struggles to bring in nuance and move away from cliche. So, I feel myself guiding it through a process of creation, but it feels more like a teacher guiding a student than me coming up with my own creative ideas.


Raghav Seth, Theatre Director New Delhi:

⁠I haven’t used AI thus far. I feel like it’s coming from a place of ownership. I felt like if it hadn’t come from me, it isn’t mine. However, it isn’t to say that I won’t use it to find inspiration in the future. ⁠Text and Set Design can be great to experiment AI on. With the right key words and framing of the prompt, AI can be utilised to create a precise scene and set design. ⁠I see AI as a tool that can help develop an idea further but not as something to be used as a means to create or develop an idea.


Akshay Raheja, Theatre Director New Delhi

 Yes, I have used both ChatGPT and the image generation software for various creative purposes. tool that is being used to ah to further the states power of sort of furthering the communication to citizens individually and that application was called clouds so was the play and this application was basically a voice dictation and an interactive software that would talk to individuals about different things. various versions and various situations to come up with different answers to sort of boil it down to and use those answers to boil it down to the eventual dialogues of the AI-based character which was called clouds. For the image generation I've constantly used image generated from AI to create posters for my plays and create promotional content let's say for social media. So that's answer number one.

I think people are making a big deal out of it because it is in fashion. It is basically going to be like the mobile phone or like digital theater. It is not going to be anything path-breaking unless it is used in a path-breaking way and for that you need a creative human being to interpret how they can use it there is a brilliant artist who has let's say used charcoal in a very interesting way. Now charcoal art has been out of fashion for 100 years but the fact that the person used it in a different way is because of the way that they have interpreted. Think of IMAX, think of digital film, anything that has impacted filmmaking or technology in any way. Only if Christopher Nolan is using IMAX or his main guy, the cinematographer who uses it is it becomes surreal or it becomes interesting IMAX as in it in itself is nothing but fancy camera work so yeah so I just believe that it's useless unless it is interpreted in a useful way and I think for that you need a good intelligent use of it. So it can be a very useful collaborator especially for administrative purposes. I do not think it is going to be close to any creative being such as the ones that we have as examples today because they all tapped into something transcendental or something that goes beyond the limited thoughts that empirical things can come to recognize say for instance about memory imagination these are things that will that that science has been not been able to understand the fact that film or story or theater has been able to interpret it in a useful way it means that there is something that is beyond just words that can be communicated so i think ai has a long way to go to tap into that but i'm confident that it will one day and that day will be a very interesting day because it will lead to a power imbalance for those who have the technology and those who don't. If it's as democratic as it is right now then it will be interesting to see where it goes but I don't think that human beings will be left behind. I see AI in coming into administrative support for, let's say, developing the text. Say, for instance, making minor changes and those are repetitive tasks that need very vague administrative. So I think of AI as a very dumb and non-creative collaborator because right now in at least what I have experienced and I think what it will take some time, a couple of years for it to develop into a more creatively nuanced tool for let's say more creative collaborations because right now I just see it as a very a tool that I can delegate to things that are repetitive things that i am not so concerned about the different human critical elements of thinking about certain things so anything that is not related to dramaturgy say for instance lights is very much related to dramaturgy but ai could be used to create a rough lights map and then one could edit various things that are just simply thought out based on its database so again a very dumb collaborator whose work can be enhanced based on context based on different things. In a lot of plays I have not used AI and that is primarily because they don't seem to suit the context of why I should use them. Say for instance if it's a play which is about, which is going to be presented in a certain kind of aesthetics, in a certain kind of auditorium which is going to be catered to a certain kind of audience in that case the use of an ai based tool is not suitable because of its language its vocabulary its aesthetics is very uh contemporary if not contemporary it is it is western for sure because the perspective is very is very western because mostly hindi based answers are very vague and and not up to the mark so mostly to deal with more universal content and by universal i don't mean vulgar universal I mean like the way that the problems of the entire world say for instance environment related or right wing movements a play about those things will be more useful it will be useful to tap ai's input into those things but because the content is two years like databases to 2021 so it also depends upon what is the period of uh time that we are looking at for the play say for instance it's recent past in that case we can use the database that is relevant to the time but mostly mostly the contemporary plays are either constructed for the now or for a particular period of time in history. So it might be useful for researching those things. But for the now it's not relevant again. So it depends on the context.


Ayesha Susan Thomas, Theatre Director, Bangalore / Belgrade

So, question one, have I used any sort of AI in creative process while making stage performance? Yes, usually in the early stages just to sort of like while I'm researching and framing my questions or things like that, then I'll chat back and I've tried chatting back and forth with ChatGPD. I more or less stopped doing it after a while because I found the responses and the creative abilities very limited. So the impairment has been that when I'm like creatively, I've been working on a new production for my kids for their annual production. when I'm like creatively, I was, I've been working on a new production with my, for my kids for their annual production. We're devising a piece of theater. And the problem is whenever I've tried to sort of brainstorm using chat, using AI as a way to brainstorm ideas, the AI has this, the chat GPT has specifically has this extremely, how to say, formulaic response to everything. So it's very, it's the opposite of creative. It's very non-creative. And so I find it quite useless from that perspective. Of all the different elements, processes of making a performance, where do you see AI coming into the process at all? I think the AI may be, again, I don't think AI is creative. It does not seem to have the ability to be creative. I think it's good logistically. If you give it very specific prompts and ask it. So, for example, as a teacher, I use it to, for example, input a piece of text and say generate question stems in response to this text. assignment that I'm giving the students so that my students who have a lower language ability or are trying to learn English and don't have a very strong vocabulary, instead of me sitting and creating a series of question stems, the AI is able to do that in 30 seconds really fast and that's brilliant. So I use it a lot when I'm designing assessments, when I'm trying to scaffold my teaching material for different learners learners who need more help learners who need less help i'm able to give the ai one piece of text or video and say okay create um a level for this child and level for this child and level for the child at this level and so on and so forth so for that it's excellent but for creative work no again in terms of building a production I think you know yeah I could be useful in saying I suppose depending on the prompt to give it say I want to I've used it to plan a schedule so I might say okay from this day to this date this is what I want to get done this is the kind of things that I mostly want to do. Can you create a schedule? So things like that AI can do. It's helped me create itineraries for trips beforehand. And I find it useful to ask AI to, before it generates a response, ask me further questions to make sure that its eventual response is targeted to what I actually want and need. And that seems to help it generate more useful content but when it comes to any creative work yeah has no creative ability in my experience its ideas are extremely generic extremely extremely boring and it's not able to it's no match for a conversation with a human being creatively and creative input in terms of design you have said text, lights, acting, absolutely no use. So I don't see it as an adversary or a collaborator. I do see it as a tool for logistical things and for things like differentiation.


Chanakya Vyas, Theatre Director, Bangalore / Mumbai

So the first one, have you used any sort of AI in the process while making a stage performance? I haven't, in fact, used chat GPT or image generation in a stage performance. I do sometimes use chat GPT for just simple things like, you know, especially writing proposals just for, you know, grammar checks and correction and making it more concise. So maybe those technical things is what I use it for. But I don't use it to generate content, because I'm not sure of that as of now. But if I've written something, I try to get a grammar check or a spell check, some sort of that kind of stuff done, or a rewrite or a rephrase, actually, more than the rephrasing of some words. Or if I look for an alternative word, I use chat GPT for that. Yeah, I haven't really used for stage performance so far. I don't know how it will be going ahead. Yeah. Second question of all the different elements and processes of making a performance at design text life acting, where do you see AI coming into processes, if at all?

Second question, I think, I mean, again, I think it depends on what does it, what purpose does it serve?

I feel, I feel if something like, if something like a set design, I make a set design, let's say for a stage, for a typical proscenium or a black box, if that's where I'm opening my show, and I have a set design picture. And if I'm now, let's say, going to take my plate to a much larger stage or a proscenium

in a festival, because that's the only venue they have. So very often what happens is that one is talking to a set designer to see how do we now fit this in, how do we deal with scale, how do we deal with space? I feel something like, something like if you have an image of your set design, and you're

able to put across, put put details like a new dimension of a new space if you're performing

It. If it could give you options, because what is chat GP to do, it gives you multiple iterations

and there is no end to an iteration. So can a set design, how can a set design be put in different, on a different stage, in different venues? And if I can get multiple iterations, because measurements, if the measurements are right, and if I know what is the measurement of my set, then I can have a lot of accuracy in terms of planning it. I can also rehearse with my actors and tell them that last time you had this much space on stage, but you may not have this much this time, or you had this much and you may have far more to cover on stage. I feel these are some of the things we play a lot by chance, because we usually get to the venue only on the day of the show. So if these things can be useful, I feel lighting, etcetera, lighting design, sound design very often, I mean, now though, I think we are already at a very advanced stage with sharing material on Google Drive and stuff. But if there can be some way where, you know, you in terms of sound design, sometimes you don't always need a composition, sometimes you just need a sound which is very atmospheric and stuff. Maybe if there is a way for using software that can give me options, because I can go and search online, but if I give a prompt and if it gives me 10 options, then that might actually narrow down my search, which might save time. And same for lights, I mean, I might be looking for reference images of something, which I

may not be very good at getting through Google search, but if an AI-driven search engine

could help or generate, then that could be interesting. I see it playing a huge role in these things, where a lot is left to figure out on the day, where there's a lot of variables involved. I feel something like an AI can address, can shorten this variable gap that we deal with,

at least in live performances. Your third question of what is the general relationship to AI? Do you see it more as a tool, a creative collaborator and an adversary? I ask in the context of your work in the creative and gas industry. I mean, I'm not averse to it for sure, that much I can say. I just haven't used it enough, or I don't know of the possibilities of it as of now, that I can comment on whether it's a tool or a collaborator, and there are two different things. When you want someone to give feedback, or you want someone to be on your team, there are two different things. Because when you want someone to give you feedback, you're just seeing them as a tool, like they're coming in with their thoughts, and they're offering what a tool will offer to you. But if you are seeing someone as a creative collaborator, then you need to have an understanding. you need to have some kind of rapport, some kind of a relationship, which I'm not very sure right now, what is the relationship with AI? Do we see it as a collaborator? If we do, then does it understand our mood swings, does it understand our insecurities,

does it understand our challenges, does it understand our, the way creative process is a very, very, a creative process is a very, it's an evolving thing, right? You enter a rehearsal space with a fully bound script, you have all your actors ready, you have everyone, everything in place, but suddenly in the middle of the play as you're making a discover, oh my god, actually this plays about this, and I want to do this now, I want to add this element, or I want to bring this element, because this is far more poetic, this is far more truer, this is far more exciting for me, will any AI be able to sense that,

and if it does, then what does it do? So yeah, there are questions to it, I'm not adverse to it, but I definitely am speaking from a point where I haven't used it at all, in fact, in my stage performance, or even in my film, which I'm very recently started working in film, very little, but I do know that

there are huge advances happening on both the fronts in both these industries, so yeah, it would be interesting to see what it does, and I'm sure when one sees, only when one sees a certain work, one gets inspired, so I'm also waiting to see someone using it interestingly, which I think will then develop, like for example, projection mapping was a fully new concept five years ago, but now it's a very common thing, five, ten years ago, people didn't know that you could map things like that,

one only thought of mapping something on a screen at the back, but when I saw mapping in a play

being done, I was amazed, and then when I made a play, I reached out to the graphic designer,

projector, he came on board and we used it to do mapping, so it's that, I feel if someone uses it interestingly, then everybody will want to use it, because then they will be like, hey, I want this in my work, and that's really what it is, right? We didn't know what was site-specific, people thought theater happens in an auditorium, when someone did an interesting work in site-specific under a tree, in a fort, in a dilapidated building, or outside a park, or in an abandoned site people suddenly thought, oh my god, even here can be performed, that's what it is, I feel, more people making it will make more people inspired, or curious.


Manjari Kaul, Theatre Director, Delhi

Have I used AI in my work before? No, but I am currently thinking about two different shows with elements of AI and hopefully projection mapping in them. You know about both the shows. The one that I can talk more about right now is the one with Sri Lakshmi where we are looking at lullabies. are looking at lullabies um also just questioning as some lullabies as necessarily something that is sung from mother to child and um also the working on the idea of a memory that's becoming fainter and fainter as we move into you know far more fast-paced lives and more sort of especially city lives where there is less room for more leisurely restful activity like lullaby singing but also some of us having grown up without lullabies kind of trying to create almost through ai uh almost a sort of past that did not exist reclaiming that um that childhood and an absent memory almost, I like to call it. So creating that absent memory through technology and also co-creating it with the audience. I'm excited at the prospect of the audience the perform the live performer as well as um the ai responding to both in the space live yeah that's kind of where i'm at right now the intersection of these three elements

 My general relationship to AI is that I downloaded recently an AI dating app for research. No, yeah, but I'm curious. I'm really at that very nascent curious i'm very i'm really really at that very nascent space like sort of um in that space of curiosity and finding out what more what more what more um and uh definitely that is my current relationship i am thinking very actively about how ai can expand the universe of what I am doing in the realm of physical theater and how it can open out portals dimensions whatever you want to call it I really feel like AI has there is definitely a very very real conversation around ai taking away jobs especially what happened in hollywood recently and like jobs of writers and what's happening with ai becoming better trained at you know some things that we didn't think ai could do you know as in display kind of human traits of creativity we thought that creativity is something that's quite unique to humans and suddenly we are not suddenly it's been happening for a while but now that we know very very surely that um ai is is catching up and the technology is really becoming better with every uh minute and those conversations that's definitely something i think about but i also think about how ai can be used as how it can really expand our universe for instance to do with um disabilities and how it can really really expand the universe of accessibility in terms of a performance being available for experiencing for people of different disabilities of sometimes overcoming access, access limitations. I think about that as well. And I think in that realm, it's quite exciting. I mean, it's that same, you know, I don't know, I guess, you know, it's a very typical debate competition topic where it's like is technology good or bad uh but yeah it's it's really how we're using it i mean of course we know how you know that going is in yeah warfare and genocide and replacing you know hard-working writers and artists and I wish that was not happening but yeah now I'm just being all over the place okay that's my response thank you Gaurav for giving me an opportunity to ramble like this I hope in wherever you're quoting me you make me sound a little bit more articulate than I've been in these voice messages and bye see you soon

 So I am currently actually thinking of all of these elements, whether it's design, as offering text and making live offerings of text in the show, as well as becoming not substituting for light but being a light source and offering those design elements in the show as well as in performance in acting itself.

 Okay, so I think I missed answering the second part of the question. What is an impediment or what has been an impediment so far that I have not used it? I think it's mostly been a lack of resource person to do it. I think I was looking for somebody who both understands theatre as well as technology and visual design theatre as well as technology and visual design and where they come in and especially vis-a-vis projection mapping which is something that I've imagined in a lot of my shows but also somebody who understands theatre, lighting along with projection mapping was something that was important to me I just hadn't found that person and also most times budgets don't allow for us to hire professionals who would be able to understand and even if it did it is important for them to understand elements and creative processes involved in theater making which is hard to come by okay


Atul Kumar, Theatre Director, Mumbai

 Gaurav, to answer the first question, I have never used artificial intelligence in any form, in any of my plays. Although I was a part of a play, I was acting in it. It was called The Last Poet, which Amitesh Grover directed. It was around the pandemic times where we were all performing live from our respective spaces from different parts of the country. In fact, one of the actors was abroad and it was basically an audience interface thing. So there was some level of chat and choice making, etc. But the way artificial intelligence is being used around the world in performing arts for more than a decade now nothing like that so absolutely and the impediment has really been just knowledge in fact it's my desire presently to be able to get a scholarship and go to to to some other country where artificial intelligence and allied forms of sciences are helping performing arts to basically open new doors and look at it in newer ways of expression. So I'm hugely interested but knowledge is the only impedant. So yeah, I mean if there was any sort of knowledge bank that was available to us in india i would be the first one to enroll for it thank you

 To answer the second question, I think in all those possibilities and more also open doors of newer realities of performance making of seeing and understanding and and immersing oneself in it who knows who knows what those things are so I'm actually more interested in that rather than just appropriating the the classical way or the traditional way of looking at the elements of theater making a performance making and seeing it in the language of AI. I will also be actually I will be more interested in going into spaces which have not been explored at all as a part of the performance.

 And to answer your last question, no, I know a lot of people, my contemporaries especially, are very averse to the idea of AI. I not only embrace it, but I am extremely excited about it. decade or whatever I have left in as my career in theatre now I think that is the space I would like to explore more of course taking from all that I have learned and garnered since I have known theatre or performance art performing arts but also to now open it out to this new giant of an idea called AI. So yes, and I would like to embrace it in all its forms, and especially the forms which one is not normally introduced to. So more than a tool, I really hope that it does something that changes the whole concept of performing arts and theatre making. So yeah, maybe even me, maybe it even changes the artists. Maybe it starts talking to us on levels where art has not spoken to us as yet. Who knows, maybe our values, moralities, who knows even that gets challenged so I'm open for really everything. I personally feel that there might be a spiritual inlet nearly when when I always believe when science is pushed to its extreme it opens out vistas that that are not even explained by science so yeah so i'm i'm very interested in those spaces thank you i hope i've answered some of your questions properly thanks bye


Tanvi Shah, Theatre Director Mumbai

 Okay, it's lively and let's see if it actually works. Question one, have I used any sort of AI? No, I have not. Why not? Few reasons, one is it hasn't occurred to me. I normally work, I like working with liveness, I like working with people, conversation, debate, provocation, confrontation, disagreement. I associate AI with information generation and we live in a glut of information so it only becomes insight or knowledge for me when I'm talking to people and when it feels fulfilling and when I'm learning not just by receiving information, but I'm learning by engaging with it and wrestling with it, which isn't how I approach AI. The ethics of it are also a bit murky. The idea of being a freelancer and being an artist that puts their work out and that shares resources or tries to is hard enough without feeling like You might use or take advantage of an artist's work who anyway is not getting paid or is not you know getting the recognition they deserve but their getting the recognition they deserve but their processes or their efforts are sort of being harnessed in this way. It feels a little bit like a factory and I'd rather not privilege productivity and output. I'd rather have this be as human as possible also because for me like performances about what it means to be human and to incorporate AI is just in that way paradoxical. So that's answer one.  Of all the different elements, where do I see AI coming in, if at all? The only thing I see it coming into for me is if I could use it, chat GPT or whatever, to help me better articulate really managerial things. I would look into how to establish contracts, intellectual property, best practice, some sort of ground rules, some sort of just like paperwork. I would ask about artistic ethics. as many perspectives as possible from my asking questions so that I could create like a robust backing because I don't trust I mean especially given who has made it the extreme bend towards like white artists and and privileging you know a particular kind of art it's not representative I don't think of the kind of art world that I live in but it does have the tools I don't think of the kind of art world that I live in, but it does have the tools. I don't want to reinvent the wheel when it comes to talking about, I mean, there have been so many conversations, especially in the pandemic about like making and processes and learning from one another. So I would use it as a tool for that kind of management learning when it comes to the arts, yeah. As a theatre maker, I don't believe I have a very large relationship to AI. It doesn't spark wonder in me. The endless possibilities somehow make it less exciting. I would rather know what endless possibilities a person holds than what an algorithm or a computer holds. So yeah, I don't see it. I see it as a tool when it comes to really functional non-creative things for the creative field as a resource bank. I don't see it as a collaborator or as an adversary. I'm not threatened and I know that people who work with information in a really functional way when it comes to science, my father for instance with medicine, I know what a tool it can be. So any kind of information sharing is hugely useful. I don't necessarily see the need to translate that into a creative performance or a creative endeavor or collaboration I'm happy for it to be a resource bank and nothing more


Meghana AT, Theatre Director, Mumbai

Yes, so in Plan B, C, D or E, I use this website called climatecentralcoastal.climatecentral.org which has an interactive map where you can see how much a particular part of the world is predicted to flood based on certain parameters of temperature rise or the year or how much CO2 will have been, carbon emissions by that point of time and that's completely an AI model based on three or four different papers so you can choose also which of the four papers and that was the foundation of the creation of the show and I actively use it during the show as well and in the show what we do is I ask people when I'm doing it in a coastal area I ask people where they live like in Bombay I'll say where do you live exactly like what's an uber pin type place and we'll check if it's underwater predicted to be underwater or not and when we do it in if I do it in a place like Delhi or something then I'll be like okay where do you like to holiday which is your favorite coastal part of the world or are you from a coastal region in the world so yeah. Also one thing that does come up in the show is the fact that this map is not 100% accurate. So I show, first of all I show old versions of the map and the old predictions, there are two vastly different predictions. And I talk about how it's not actually the AI's fault, though in one place the algorithm was incorrect, where the prediction is based on Google Maps data. The map is a Google Maps map and the algorithm was mistaking what ground level is. So in some places it was calculating ground level as the real ground level, in other places it was the top of a car or a tree or a building which made the prediction really inaccurate. So I talk about that, like how it's not that AI is at fault, but the algorithm was incorrect. And then I talk about the fact that we have these three maps based on, three vastly different maps based on different papers that you're referencing. And that means that science itself is self-correcting. So we need to, when we're talking about predictions of the future and using AI as a tool, even in the show, I talk about how it's a tool. It's not actually 100% accurate. It never can be. And if anybody tells you that it's 100% accurate, treat it with some judgment and, you know, not judgment. Was that what I'm looking for? Not disrespect. My God. Distrust. Distrust. I'm very tired. I'm sorry.  So with regards to the previous question, yes I did feel like it AI was an adversary and it felt like I was consorting with the devil if I used it to write material for my website. The thing is I don't see it that way in BCDE. For example, it's a very core tool of the show and it's very important for the show to have the emotional effect it does when you see your house underwater rather than speak about facts or whatever the whole point of the show is making the political personal or the climate personal in this case um and i think there it's achieving something i don't think i could ever do i don't think i could ever uh create that map myself personally individually i could not collate all that data and I could not do it that immediately or that quickly which AI can do and then it can it can create that effect I think the reason it's it feels like an adversary in writing is it feels like it's taking my job whereas there in that situation it's not taking my job it's not that's not even vaguely within the realm of my capabilities At this point I don't really see AI coming into any of these because for example just as a for fun we tried to use a Canva AI poster making tool and it was disgusting. It was so bad. I hated it. So from a design perspective no. From a text no, lights no, acting to no only. One thing that somebody did suggest to me was while making my website, I should get ChatGPT to write some of the sections so that it's more search engine optimized. I didn't end up doing that. I just felt weird doing it. I couldn't even though I knew that it might help maybe with the SEO of the website. I just, I don't know. It didn't make me feel okay.


Vaishali Bisht, Theatre Director, Hyderabad 

Haven't used any ai yet mostly because the need hasn't arisen and one isn't sure whether the output of ai is artificial intelligence or a data set of natural stupidity. I think AI maybe useful in set design and lighting design since perhaps it's ability to process information and adjust lights/projections accordingly maybe faster than a human's response time.  mostly I would view Ai as a tool and hence only as effective as the skills of the person wielding it (i.e. asking the questions, providing the prompt/instructions)




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