Kay’s moving exploration of war was made following an intense period of  field research when she joined The 4th Battalion The Rifles for two weeks and experienced full battle exercises on Dartmoor and Salisbury Plain. Kay then visited the military rehabilitation centre, Headley Court, to see the effects of conflict and training on the soldiers’ bodies.

The work changes perceptions of the soldier in the mind of the general public, allowing soldiers to be seen as humans and individuals, showing the sheer effort and physical work involved, and touching people with a deep understanding and portrayal of the life of a soldier.

2015 company
Photo: Tim Cross

Press & Audience Quotes

“War is an overwhelmingly male business, but the power of 5 Soldiers derives from Kay’s female perspective…. Rosie Kay’s taut, visceral, compassionate piece, the body is the frontline….War from a female perspective packs a punch.” *****
The Observer

“Rosie Kay’s use of dance to help create a complex and nuanced picture of conflict is one of the most innovative and compelling initiatives that I have experienced in the aftermath of Iraq and Afghanistan. It demonstrates how art can be used as a powerful tool in the healing process, how it can touch the extended family of those who have been caught in the horror of battle and how it can send a universal message about the soldier. It is an extraordinary achievement which will make a difference to many people.”
General Sir Nick Parker, KCB, CBE

“In its fierce physical accuracy and its compassion, the work is unlike any other war-themed dance I’ve seen…. For us civilians, 5 Soldiers is a disturbing, illuminating and necessary glimpse into a world that we mostly prefer to ignore.” ****
The Guardian

“I could recognise every movement made by the dancers; it was very authentic and hard to believe that the dancers weren’t all experienced soldiers. 5 SOLDIERS is a brilliant production; the interpretation of the highs and lows of a soldier’s life is excellent and very thought provoking.”
Brigadier Stephen Hodder, Commander 43 (Wessex) Brigade, Tidworth

“5 Soldiers is simply a five star must-see however you view the armed forces” *****
The Birmingham Press

“I am a former Green Jacket soldier…I found the performance deeply moving, relevant and so representative of how soldiers are and how they cope with the contrasting aspects of their lives. Arresting and disturbing. But through it shines the in extinguishable light of the British soldier’s guts, determination and irrepressible sense of humour. “
Audience Member

“5 Soldiers was an extraordinary experience. I can’t think of anything else I have ever seen that spoke directly to me on a physical level. I found myself both interpreting the performance mentally and literally feeling it. The combination was captivating, challenging at times and extremely moving!”
Audience Member – Birmingham

“Thanks very much for last night, it was great to see the performance and thought it was amazing. You may have converted me to the world of dance!”
Captain Harry Parker- injured in Afghanistan (4 RIFLES)

2015 company
Photo: Tim Cross

As part of the project, an eight-week tailor-made outreach programme at each location is created to build new links between the military, theatres and local communities. RKDC’s Community Engagement Manager plans this area of work and works with the venues, dance partners and military partners to create an inspirational programme.

The community engagement work builds on experience the company gained through designing and running training and development LABS, and also large-scale outdoor works The Great Train Dance and Haining Dreaming involving mass community participation with dance leader training and extended lead-in.

“Many thanks for providing young people with two inspirational workshops. The sessions far exceeded their expectations; they had fun and were proud of their achievement with the stage performance. I was moved by both performances. This was a rare and unique opportunity for our young people and our community. Thank you for putting the humanity of warfare at the forefront of the performance. In my work I only know soldiers as mums and dads, so it was a brilliant insight for me.”
Youth Worker, Army Welfare Services

Community Engagement Work, York 2015

 5 SOLDIERS was nominated for Best Choreography (Modern) at the 2015 National Dance Awards.

The show topped the Best Dance of 2015 charts in The Observer, The Guardian and The Independent.

The 2015 tour of 5 SOLDIERS was awarded an Arts and Health Special Commendation for our excellent contribution to arts and health practice by the Royal Society for Public Health.

In 2016 5 SOLDIERS toured Scotland funded by Creative Scotland, the Armed Forces Covenant, ABF – The Soldier’s Charity and presented In Association with The Army in Scotland. The show toured to near sell-out audiences in Glasgow (Tramway), Penicuik (Glencorse Barracks presented by Eastgate Theatre & Arts Centre), Stirling (Macrobert, our Major Supporter), Inverness (Fort George presented by Eden Court) and Aberdeen (Gordon Barracks presented by Citymoves Dance Agency).

Significant media interest resulted in widespread coverage in print, online and on Scottish Television with glowing five star reviews from The Scotsman and The Herald. Community Engagement projects in each location also attracted media coverage of the excellent experiences of participants who trained and performed alongside the professional company.

5 SOLDIERS will appear for the first time at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and tour in 2017 presented in association with The Army and funded by Arts Council England, The Chancellor using LIBOR funds and The Rayne Foundation.