It's the ever-tantalising stuff of so much science fiction, nowadays - the machine that can, and often is, mistaken for a real-life person.
WHEN St Stephen's Church in Edinburgh's Stockbridge district was sold last year, it was feared that its days as an Edinburgh Festival Fringe venue, fondly remembered for its programmes by Aurora Nova, the Arches and the Traverse were numbered.
Last year Scotland lost three men whose contribution to the current shape of the country's theatre most of the populace is probably less than fully aware of.
Now in its thirteenth year, the Glasgow International Comedy Festival, which starts on March 12, is offering nearly 106,000 tickets for 400 shows at 46 venues all over the city.
The King's Theatre in Edinburgh is holding a showcase of the city's amateur dramatic companies on January 26.
The former Blue Peter presenter Peter Duncan is to head the cast in Rachel Wagstaff's acclaimed stage play Birdsong which comes to His Majesty's Theatre in Aberdeen next month.