Wellcome / EPSRC Centre for Interventional and Surgical Sciences


About In Theatre

In Theatre was an interactive pop-up installation, which explored how AI and robotics will revolutionise surgery now and in the future.

The Wellcome / EPSRC Centre for Interventional and Surgical Sciences (WEISS) worked with The Liminal Space to bring together some of the most imaginative and futuristic innovations from researchers in engineering and clinical sciences at UCL. Over the 3-weeks that the pop-up installation was open, we welcomed over 2000 people in to see the project.

Visitors to In Theatre were led on a journey deep inside the human body and were sent whizzing through the high-tech machines used during surgery. They were invited to beat the buzzer to test just how steady their hands were compared with the arms of a robot surgeon and could sit in on a virtual robotic operation.

The pop-up installation was housed in what was previously a cake shop in the heart of Brick Lane.

As part of the In Theatre project, a report on how AI and surgery might lead to healthcare inequalities was commission by UCL’s Policy Impact Unit, which is part of the Science Technology Engineering and Public Policy Department (STEaPP) at UCL. The report is based on a series of discussions that took place during two online workshops in July and September of 2022, with participants from the UK Government, academia and the wider community. The main objectives of the first workshop were to map the different ways in which AI and surgery might lead to inequalities and how those inequalities relate to current public understanding and concerns. As a follow-up, the second workshop focused on exploring what steps might be taken to ensure that the development of new surgical technologies don’t inadvertently contribute to health inequalities.

The full report can be found here: 


In Theatre was an important project for WEISS, helping us to connect and engage with members of the public on issues surrounding AI, robotics and surgery. We were delighted to open the pop up installation in Tower Hamlets and share our research with the local community and beyond.”

Dan Stoyanov, Director at WEISS

Amanda Gore, Director at The Liminal Space, says: “What the researchers are working on at UCL is truly revolutionary and will define the future of surgery and healthcare for us all in the coming decades. At a time when the NHS is under exceptional pressure and patients face long waiting times for treatment, these near-future solutions offer great opportunities for surgery that is safer, faster and less invasive. But these innovations also bring with them important questions about access, data and equality. In Theatre sets the stage for conversations about all of this and more.”

In Theatre gave members of the public a new - and very different - perspective on how AI and robotics will revolutionise surgery now and in the future.