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MK Ultra By Rosie Kay Dance Company - UK Tour

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Freelance journalist with a passion for theatre, the arts, food and books.
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Costumes By Lady Gaga's Designer
Choreographer Rosie Kay has won awards for her innovative and poignant dance, now her dance company is embarking on a new UK tour that involves costumes by Lady Gaga's clothes designer.

rosie kay dance company, MK Ultra, UK tour 2017
MK Ultra embarks on a UK tour in 2017

MK Ultra is the latest production by Birmingham-based Rosie Kay Dance Company and is inspired by the bizarre realm of pop culture, mind control conspiracies and Illuminati imagery.

Lady Gaga designer Gary Card is creating his first costume designs for contemporary dance for this show. He has worked with everyone from Stella McCartney to Lady Gaga, for whom he designed props and headdresses for the Monster Ball tour.

The world premiere of MK Ultra takes place at Birmingham Repertory Theatre on March 17, with another performance in the city on March 19. It will then tour nationally from March 23 until May 18.

It will bring a hypnotic, high energy, supercharged mash-up of dance, music and imagery to the stage. Kay is renowned for tackling important, pertinent and challenging subject matters and in this show, she looks at a weird world of symbolism, hidden messages and occult signs and deconstructs it for an aware and an unaware audience.

Mk ultra, Rosie Kay dance company , uk tour
Costume designs are by Lady Gaga's designer Gary Card

MK ULTRA is a CIA codeword for a real LSD fuelled brainwashing technique developed by the US military. Popular conspiracy theory believes that MK ULTRA is still active and programmes high profile public figures and celebrities such as pop stars Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus and even Justin Bieber - puppets of the 'Illuminati', a shadowy elite intent on creating a New World Order of authoritarian world government.

The production features just seven dancers - Shanelle Clemenson, Harriet Ellis, Shelley Eva Haden, Lizzie Klotz, Joao Maio, Ryan Munroe and Oliver Russell.

Rosie Kay Dance Company, won the prize of Best Independent Company at the Critics' Circle National Dance Awards in 2015. Rosie Kay has gone on to become one of the UK's leading female choreographers and is renowned for her athletic movement, rigorous research and intelligent theatricality.

Mk ultra, Rosie Kay dance company
There are just seven dancers in MK Ultra

Kay, a research associate to the University of Oxford School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, choreographed the hit feature film Sunshine on Leith and is best known for the five star and award-winning 5 SOLDIERS.

For MK ULTRA, Kay is reunited with the award-winning creative team involved with 5 SOLDIERS - composer Annie Mahtani; set and video designer Louis Price; lighting designer Mike Gunning and dramaturg Tessa Walker.

Rosie Kay, artistic director of Rosie Kay Dance Company, said: "MK Ultra is the result of three years intense research, which have taken me through the world of surveillance, state police, torture and brainwashing, through to pop culture, mainstream media and celebrity breakdowns, all the way back to politics and a comment on the post-culturism state we are in now."

She added: "Spending time exploring the deep rabbit hole of conspiracy theory took me into strange realms of CIA brainwashing, celebrity training and Illuminati symbolism hidden in pop culture. At a time when everything is fake, or at least we don't trust what's real anymore, MK Ultra looks at what this world really feels like and what affect it is having on us, whether we know it or not."

"Be prepared for high-energy, high-octane dance, a mash-up of dance styles, subliminal and secret messages, incredible video, light and costume visuals, music that wraps around your senses and a deeper, darker political edge. Be prepared, there is twerking."

MK ULTRA is supported using public funding by Arts Council England and is commissioned by DanceXchange, Warwick Arts Centre & Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

The production is approximately 90 minutes, including an interval, and has an age guidance of 14 due to adult themes including those of a sexual nature.


Fri 17 & Sat 18 March at 7.45pm
Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Broad Street, BIRMINGHAM, B1 2EP
Tickets: 0121 236 4455 //

Thu 23 March at 7.30pm
Performing Arts Centre, University of Lincoln, Brayford Pool, LINCOLN, LN6 7TS
Tickets: 01522 837600 //

Thu 30 March at 8pm
Brewery Arts Centre, 122a Highgate, KENDAL, LA9 4HE
Tickets: 01539 725133 //

Wed 5 April at 7.30pm
York Theatre Royal, St Leonard's Place, YORK, YO1 7HD
Tickets: 01904 623568 /

Thu 20 April at 7.30pm
Laban Theatre, Laban Building, Creekside, Deptford, LONDON, SE8 3DZ
Tickets: 020 8463 0100 //

Tue 25 April at 8pm
Eden Court Theatre Bishops Road, INVERNESS, IV3 5SA
Tickets: 01463 234 234 //

Fri 28 & Sat 29 April at 7.30pm
Dance City, Temple Street, NEWCASTLE, NE1 4BR
Tickets : 0191 261 0505 //

Wed 3 & Thu 4 May at 7.30pm
HOME, 2 Tony Wilson Place, MANCHESTER, M15 4FN
Tickets: 0161 200 1500 //

Tue 9 May at 7.30pm
Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre Northern Ballet Quarry Hill, LEEDS, LS2 7PA
Tickets: 0113 220 8008 //

Thu 11 & Fri 12 May at 7.30pm
Warwick Arts Centre, University of Warwick, COVENTRY, CV4 7AL
Tickets: 024 7652 4524 //

Thu 18 May at 7.30pm
Macrobert Arts Centre University of Stirling, STIRLING, FK9 4LA
Tickets: 01786 466666 //

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Why? See innovative dance
When: March to May 2017
Phone: Various
Where: Birmingham Rep and then touring UK
Cost: 15
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