Photo: Tim Cross

5 SOLDIERS The Body is the Frontline

5 SOLDIERS is a moving, dramatic and unique work that looks at how the human body remains essential to war, even in the 21st century.

A visceral ‘tour de force’ of the senses, 5 SOLDIERS provides an intimate view of the training that prepares soldiers for the sheer physicality of combat, for the possibility of injury, and the impact conflict has on the bodies and minds of everyone it reaches. The piece has a powerful physicality, moments of humour and is full of honesty, all inspired by input from serving and former soldiers.

Funded by
Arts Council England (2010/11/15/17)
Creative Scotland (2016)
Armed Forces Covenant Fund
ABF The Soldiers' Charity (2015/16)
Enterprise Catalyst (2015)
The Rayne Foundation (2017)
The Chancellor using LIBOR funds (2017)

Originally commissioned by
International Dance Festival Birmingham
Supported by
Warwick Arts Centre
The Rayne Foundation
Macrobert Arts Centre
Dance Base

Presented in association with
The Army in Scotland (2016)
The Army (2017)
Choreography and Direction: Rosie Kay
Composer: Annie Maharani
Visual Artist: David Cotterrell
Set & Video Designer: Louis Price
Lighting Designer: Mike Gunning

2016 tour
Dancers: Duncan Anderson, Luke Bradshaw, Reece Causton, Oliver Russell & Shelley Eva Haden
Dramaturg Ben Payne
Tour Producer Phil Hargreaves
Company Producer James Allenby
Production Manager David Ball

2015 tour
Dancers: Duncan Anderson, Chester Hayes, Sean Marcs, Oliver Russell & Shelley Eva Haden
Assistant Choreographer Lisa Hood
Dramaturg Ben Payne
Executive Director Hannah Sharpe
Tour Producer Phil Hargreaves
Project Manager James Allenby
Production Manager David Ball
Community Engagement Manager Vanessa McGuire Oxspring

2010 tour
Producer: Hannah Sharpe
Artistic Collaborator: Walter Meierjohann
Dramaturg: Petra Taucher
Dancers: Tilly Webber, Chris Vann, Chris Linda, Michael Spenceley, Tomasz Moskal
Technical Manager: Simon Broadbridge
Rehearsal Director: Joanne Moven
2017 tour
Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Army @ The Fringe (presented by Summerhall) 11-26 Aug
London, Yeomanry House Bloomsbury (presented by Sadler's Wells) 7-9 Sep
Hull, Londesborough Street Barracks 15-16 Sep
Aldershot, Canada House Boxing Centre (presented by the West End Centre) 22-23 Sep
Swindon, Royal Wessex Yeomanry Army Reserve Centre (presented by Swindon Dance) 29-30 Sep
Colchester, Corporal Budd VC Gymnasium (presented by Mercury Theatre) 6-7 Oct
Birmingham, Golden Hillock Road Army Reserve Centre (presented by Birmingham REP) 13-14 Oct

Scottish Tour 2016
Glasgow, Tramway 29-30 April
Penicuik, Glencorse Barracks (presented by Eastgate Theatre & Arts Centre) 6-7 May
Stirling, Macrobert Arts Centre 13-14 May
Inverness, Fort George (presented by Eden Court) 27-28 May
Aberdeen, Gordon Barracks (presented by Citymoves) 20-21 May

National Tour 2015
Birmingham, The Rep 23-25 April
Oxford, Wolfson College 2-3 May
London, The Rifles Officers' Club 7-9 May
Newcastle, Dance City 14 & 16 May
Blandford, Semaphore Arms, Blandford Camp 23-24 May
Manchester, Rusholme Army Reserve Centre 29-30 May
York, Imphal Barracks 5-6 June
Brecon, Theatr Brycheiniog 12-13 June

Tour Dates 2010-2011
NEWCASTLE / Dance City, CARDIFF / Wales Millennium Centre, WOLVERHAMPTON/ Arena Theatre, BERLIN / Kunsthaus Tacheles, PADERBORN 5 Rifles, Germany, NEWBURY /Corn Exchange, LONDON/ Robin Howard Dance Theatre, The Place, HERTFORD / Hertford Theatre, BIRMINGHAM/ Town Hall, MADRID EN DANZA FESTIVAL, MADRID, Spain, BIRMINGHAM The Patrick Centre International Dance Festival Birmingham, COVENTRY Warwick Arts Centre, LINCOLN Lincoln Arts Centre, PORTSMOUTH New Theatre Royal, SALISBURY Salisbury Arts Centre, DARTINGTON Dartington Hall, HULL Hull Truck Theatre, LONDON The Rifles Club, SOUTH SHIELDS The Customs House, BARNSLEY The Civic, NOTTINGHAM Lakeside Arts Centre, JERSEY Jersey Arts Centre, TAUNTON The Brewhouse Theatre

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.