The recycled robot: A theater production with international ambitions to premiere in the Concertgebouw (2025)


The recycled robot (Robot van de Rommelmarkt) is a short story written by bestselling author Tonke Dragt (known for De Zevensprong and Letter for the King, recently released on Netflix). Robot artist Bram Ellens has acquired the international theater rights and will stage a unique project together with the Concertgebouw and an impressive list of other partners.


The story (from 1971) takes place in the future. Every child is dependent on their own robot. Learning is a thing of the past, after all, that's what your robot does. But then one day the robot of the main character Edu breaks down. The only solution is an old-fashioned robot from the flea market offered by a somewhat eccentric figure. There's just one problem; Edu still has to teach the robot everything (except reciting poems because that is the only thing this robot can do). Because of this situation, Edu learns to appreciate 'learning' again and, against his better judgement, he starts to build a bond with the robot. Until one day the robot breaks down and Edu receives some wise lessons from the man at the flea market, and he realizes that he has learned to stand on his own two feet and is capable of more than he ever dreamed.


Bram Ellens is the producer, artist and captain on this pirate ship project. Together with the Concertgebouw, has assembled an impressive team to realize this project over the course of 2023 and 2024.

The robot will be programmed over the next 18 months by Creative Robotics, with whom Bram Ellens has been working for years. The underlying research for this is done in the Robot Lab in collaboration with the Ulrike Quade Company, TU Delft and University of Utrecht. The music will be composed, arranged and performed by Bart Hengeveld and Thierry Castel (Jazz on Recipe, Wouter Hamel). The decor will be a projection drawn by Wouter Tulp (Disney, Pixar) with animations provided in a unique collaboration by students from the HKU. Finally, sonologist and beatmaster Harmen Sipkema (rap formation Kernhoofd) will give a voice to the robot.


Finally, the Concertgebouw is the beginning and not the end station for this project. The ambition is to take the performance after the Concertgebouw to New York and/or London, where it belongs perfectly given the beautiful timeless (and today oh so relevant) story and the unique design language.