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MK ULTRA- Conspiracy themed dance from choreographer Rosie Kay and the BBC’s Adam Curtis.

September 28, 2018 - September 29, 2018

| £8

Do you believe in the Illuminati? Choreographer Rosie Kay brings the second tour of MK ULTRA to Cardiff.

Fresh from the success of choreographing the Commonwealth Games Handover live broadcast to 1 billion people worldwide, Rosie Kay brings the second UK tour of MK ULTRA to Wales with performances at Cardiff’s Sherman Theatre on 28 & 29 September.

The tour will culminate with shows at London’s Southbank Centre and LEAP Dance Festival Liverpool. MK ULTRA was originally created in collaboration with BBC journalist and BAFTA-winning filmmaker Adam Curtis in 2017 and features costumes from Lady Gaga designer Gary Card.

a postmodern fantasia…MK ULTRA asks important questions about the real and the fake, and whether, for a new generation, they’ve become one.”
★★★★ The Observer

Extraordinary….a super-saturated sensory feast of movement, sound and imagery
★★★★ The Financial Times

Taking its name from the LSD-fuelled experiments conducted by the US Military in the 1950s and 1960s, MK ULTRA looks at the rise of conspiracy theory amongst young people and in particular the theory that these experiments have continued in the realms of pop music and fashion.


28 & 29 September | Sherman Theatre, Cardiff  | 7.45pm

£16 (half price for under 25s). Book now.

After extensive online research into conspiracy culture and interviews with 16-25 year olds from the Midlands, Kay and Curtis developed a hypothesis that ponders whether the lack of trust in politicians and established political systems has given rise to alternative theories of power and control. Hypnotic video design alternate with documentary-like sections of Curtis’ signature montage style, creating a kaleidoscope effect on audiences, both brainwashing and playful.

The show features a gold mirrored stage, hypnotic triangular projections by Louis Price, a pulsing soundtrack of American trap music and a mesmerising score by electro-acoustic composer and University of Birmingham lecturer Dr Annie Mahtani.

For its second tour, MK ULTRA has been re-worked and developed further, with the storyline focusing on the rise and fall of the chosen pop princess. Initiation rites, pop video style vignettes and competitive bizarre thrusting dances dominate the stage, with highly choreographed dance mashing up popular street styles with a hard core of contemporary and balletic technique.

Set within a pop culture context, MK ULTRA does not overlook the manipulation of the female image in mainstream media, particularly the sexualisation of young girls and the pressure this can place on mental health. Juxtaposing over-the-top moves from music videos with representations of mental breakdowns, MK ULTRA reveals the dark side of the mainstream media with a saccharine-sweet dose of bubblegum popstars.

Choreographer Rosie Kay said: I’m really excited to be plunging back into the bizarre realm of the conspiracy theory pop world. Since I made the show, so much has happened both in politics and in pop music, with Kanye West being a living embodiment of the pop star going wrong and controlled by the puppet masters. So much of what Adam and I made last year now seems utterly relevant, on the money and a lot less weird than a year ago! I can’t wait to work with Adam again. I’m also personally excited to be back in the studio with some new cast members, making the actual dance language- its so exciting to be mixing such styles as twerking, footwork and contemporary for the dance stage, and it feels relevant, political and right.”

Rosie Kay is one of the UK’s leading choreographers. She is celebrated for her athletic movement, rigorous research  and intelligent theatricality, and is known for the five-star award-winning 5 SOLDIERS as well as choreographing 2018’s live televised Commonwealth Games handover broadcast globally to 1 billion people.

28 & 29 September | Sherman Theatre, Cardiff 


£16 (half price for under 25s)

Book online

28 & 29 September | Sherman Theatre, Cardiff 

Supported using public funding by Arts Council England. Commissioned by DanceXchange, Warwick Arts Centre & Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

Tour website
Twitter @rosiekaydanceco
Facebook @rosiekaydancecompany

Instagram @rosiekaydanceco


September 28, 2018
September 29, 2018
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Sherman Theatre
Senghennydd Rd
Cardiff, CF24 4YE
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Funding Partners

families first
cardiff partnership
promo cymru