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ROBOTS

The future's bright, the future's robotic. At least, that's what this slightly scary fella Shadow Walker (right) would like you to believe. It's probably best not to argue, nor to dispute the prophecies of the vast array of fairly frightening boffins, cyberheads and academics who will also be on view at Robotix '97, a four-day festival of the future in Glasgow. Among the speakers are Prof Robin Baker, author of Designing the Future, Nasa's Dr Robert Mah, and Steven Doyle and Jamie Reid, inventors of interactive games. Science and Business Day (Thur) will presumably remind any trepid men in suits that their jobs may not exist in the 21st century, and Friday is School's Day, which features a demonstration of the animation effects from Dragonheart, and the UK premiere of a robotic Romeo and Juliet. The University Union hosts a debate on Friday evening, featuring researcher and intelligent-machine-builder Igor Aleksander, from London's Imperial College, and cyber-friendly journalists Oliver Morton and Andrew Leonard. But the real fun for the poking and prodding public starts at the weekend. Remember, they might talk back to you, but they can't tell you what to do. Yet. McLellan Galleries, Glasgow (0345 023817), Thur-Sun

FESTIVAL

The London Disability Arts Forum presents a celebration of art and identity entitled Disabled/Woman at London's Turtle Key Arts Centre this week. Produced entirely by disabled women, the events include art workshops, exhibitions and theatre. Personal Myths and Alternative Passports is an exhibition of new photography by Margaret Mitchell and Claire Collison, a challenging attempt to provide an insight into the lives and experiences of disabled women, and both of the photographers will be running workshops during the week. Deliverance!, a new play by Cathy Gibson, is premiered on Monday, and is performed by the Really Disabled Theatre Co. Turtle Key Arts Centre, London SW6, from Mon to 15 Mar. Art workshops from Tue, 11am-2pm (pounds 4.50); `Personal Myths' from Mon 2-6pm (free); `Deliverance!' from Mon, 8pm (pounds 6.50/4.50). Day tickets and festival tickets are avail (LDAF info 0171-916 5484)

THEATRE

After Shaw's St Joan, Anouilh's The Lark, and Brecht's St Joan of the Stockyards comes a new portayal of the medieval French martyr/ witch/ feminist/ heroine which challenges the allegorical manipulations of the historical figure. Writer and director Julia Pascal wrote her St Joan as a response to the provocative appropriation of the cultural icon, as an Aryan nationalist heroine, by Jean-Marie Le Pen and the French National Front. Pascal imagines a new European version - Joan Rabinowitch, a black Jewish Londoner - who wakes up as the "real" Joan after a chat about reincarnation with a taxi driver. Three actresses Abi Eniola, Laure Smadja and Yanic Blackwood (l-r above) share the title role, and the anti- xenophobic satire receives its premiere in London before travelling to Paris and Lille. New End Theatre, London NW3 (0171-794 0022) 7.30pm, pounds 12/pounds 6, from Tue

PHOTOGRAPHY

Julia Pascal's radical representation of St Joan is also poignantly timed as 1997 is both European Year Against Racism, and the 21st anniversary of the Race Relations Act. To mark these occurrences, the Commission for Racial Equality compiled an exhibition of photographs to represent and celebrate the achievements, contributions, and involvement of Britain's ethinic minorities in contemporary society and culture, which was launched by the Prince of Wales last July. Roots of the Future has been touring the country since then, and is about to reach Newcastle for its longest run to date. People's Gallery,

Discovery Museum,

Newcastle, Tue to 6 May

TALK

Katie Mitchell, the acclaimed theatre director, will talk to actress Cherry Morris about her plans for the RSC's Other Place at 5.30pm on Friday. The Other Place, Stratford (01789 295623)

CLASSICAL

Mstislav Rostropovich (below) is 70 this month. One of the century's outstanding cellists, and a mean wielder of the baton, "Slava" is celebrating in the company of the LSO. But they're making him work. Tonight, he conducts Bernstein's Slava! Overture, as well as Prokofiev's Symphony No 1 and Shostakovich's Symphony No 8, and on Tuesday he conducts three works he had previously commissioned from Lutoslawski, Walton and Schnittke. But the real highlight is on Thursday when Zubin Mehta conducts the Russian cellist in a recital of works by Wagner, Shostakovich and Dvorak. Barbican, London EC2 (0171-638 8891) 7.30pm pounds 6-pounds 30.

PUPPETRY

Pandora's Daughter Puppet Co (right) has had an uphill battle in Britain where, on the whole, the public's awareness of puppetry is limited to Punch & Judy and Spitting Image. As well as putting on vivid storytelling shows for children, they specialise in shows for adults, and as part of the new season at the Little Angel Theatre, they will be performing Sticking Together and Falling Apart. Set in the dying mining town of Slogthorpe, it's a poetic and political parable, created in collaboration with the poet Ian McMillan. Entertaining, poignant and anarchic - the puppets act and one of the performers is a slagheap - it's a kind of Brassed Off without the brass. Or Ewan McGregor. The Little Angel Theatre, London N1 (0171-226 1787) Wed 7.30pm pounds 4.50/3.50 concs

ART

If Howard Hodgkin withdrawal symptoms have already taken hold - or you never quite made it to the Hayward in time - the layered, dazzling colours of David Leverett might be in order. His new exhibition, Signs in the Sky, features the abstract representations of nature and the smattering of mystical symbolism which are his trademarks, and coincides with the publication of his book of poetry and images, A Dance through the Labyrinth of Sand. Whether or not the pictures can help us to "regain our balance and spiritual harmony with the world" and "redefine our place in the wider dimensions of time", they're still a handy SAD-antidote before spring really kicks in. Jill George Gallery, London W1 (0171 439 7319), to 4 Apr. Mon-Wed, Fri 10-6, Thur 10-8, Sat 11-5

HYPE ALERT

Ex-Bros star Luke Goss (the one who wasn't Matt) is currently starring in a national tour of What a Feeling, a trawl through the, ahem, highspots of 1970s and 1980s musicals from Grease to Flashdance. If dates from High Wycombe to Skegness bring home the melancholy of chart exile to the man who once plaintively sang "When will I, will I be famous?", he'll find some solace with his co-stars: Sinitta and Sonia.

Quick! Demi-Goth Nick Cave is signing copies of King Ink 2 at Waterstone's, High St Kensington (today 2pm). It's his only UK book-signing event, but handily coincides with the release of his new album.

LITERATURE

Europe's largest Jewish book festival begins tomorrow with a certain comedian-turned-football addict-turned novelist (below) opening the proceedings with The David Baddiel Experience (Sun 8pm). The high- brow stuff starts in earnest on Monday, when Prof Giuseppe Veltri discusses "Rabbinic Responses to Science" (6.15pm), and the former President of Israel, Chaim Herzog, launches his autobiography (8.15pm). Other contributors include writer Orly Castel-Bloom and the Chief Rabbi, Dr Jonathan Sacks (Wed, 6.15pm). Oh, and there are lots of books, too.

Royal National Hotel, London WC1 (0171- 435 6008)

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