Join a pop brainwashing experiment that will blow your mind

Be dazzled by bright lights, superhuman dancing and pounding music. Relax in the reassuring glamour of beautiful bodies and the glittering lifestyles of music videos.

But what dark, ugly secrets lie behind the mask for the generations of young mainstream pop stars – and those who watch them?

MK ULTRA explores the the rise of a strange, dark myth of our time. How, as millions of young people turn away from the established political systems, they are embracing bizarre conspiracies that they see hidden like a secret code in the culture and music that surrounds them.

MK ULTRA mixes creator and choreographer Rosie Kay’s thoroughly researched exploration of the rise of the Illuminati conspiracy in modern culture with filmmaker Adam Curtis’ documentary elements to create a new kind of dance work.

MK ULTRA is visually arresting, with costumes from Lady Gaga’s designer Gary Card, 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 Annie Mahtani.

Choreographer & Director: Rosie Kay
Producer: James Preston
Performers 2017 tour: Shanelle Clemenson, Harriet Ellis, Shelley Eva Haden, Lizzie Klotz, Joao Maio, Ryan Munroe, Oliver Russell
Performers 2018 tour: Luke Bradshaw, Shanelle Clemenson, Harriet Ellis, Carina Howard, Lizzie Klotz, Joao Maio, Nicholas Tredrea
Composer: Annie Mahtani
Costumer Designer: Gary Card
Set and Video Designer: Louis Price
Lighting Designer: Mike Gunning
Dramaturg: Tessa Walker
Creative Collaborator: Adam Curtis
2017 Creation and Tour
Funded by Arts Council England
Commissioned by DanceXchange, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, and Warwick Arts Centre

Thanks to all our Crowdfunder supporters
Anderson, Anne Scott, Cath Kay, Chris Unitt, Christopher Kerry, Gregor Colville, Helen Kay, Jenny Smith, John Anderson, Natasha & Gavin, Richard Lee, Robert & Alison, Simon Broadbridge and anonymous donors.

Research and development phases
Funded by Arts Council England
Supported by danceXchange and Dance Base

2015-16: Research & Development

Sep 2016: Tanzmesse nrw (Dusseldorf)

National Tour 2017
BIRMINGHAM Birmingham Repertory Theatre | Fri 17 & Sat 18 March
LINCOLN Lincoln Performing Arts Centre | Thu 23 March
KENDAL Brewery Arts Centre | Thu 30 March
YORK York Theatre Royal | Wed 5 April
LONDON Laban | Thu 20 April
INVERNESS Eden Court | Tue 25 April
NEWCASTLE Dance City | Fri 28 & Sat 29 April
MANCHESTER HOME | Wed 3 & Thu 4 May
LEEDS Northern Ballet | Tue 9 May
WARWICK Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry | Thu 11 & Fri 12 May
STIRLING Macrobert Arts Centre | Thu 18 May

National Tour 2018
BIRMINGHAM Hippodrome | Thu 20 & Fri 21 Sep
WALSALL Forest Arts Centre | Tue 25 Sep
CARDIFF Sherman Theatre | Fri 28 & Sat 29 Sep
GUILDFORD G Live | Tue 2 Oct
STREET, SOMERSET Strode Theatre | Tue 2 Oct
SOUTH SHIELDS Customs House | Tue 23 Oct
ABERYSTWYTH Arts Centre | Fri 26 Oct
LONDON Southbank Centre | Thu 8 Nov
LIVERPOOL Capstone Theatre LEAP dance festival | Sat 10 Nov

For more information or tour booking contact James Preston

“a wildly ambitious new work….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

“In a stylish collaboration, the film-maker [Adam Curtis] and choreographer [Rosie Kay] explore the myth of a shadowy cult attempting world domination through mass brainwashing”

The Guardian

Following in-depth research, award winning choreographer Kay (and former artist in residence at the University of Oxford) discovered that there was a huge divide between those who were aware of the illuminati saturation in pop music; the under 25’s, and those who weren’t; the over 25’s. Shocked and excited to be exploring such an important subject matter, Kay found that young people were engaged, political, cynical and frightened by what they believed, what they suspected and what they could know for certain. When consulting the over 25’s, Kay discovered a general sense of unease, but very little real knowledge of what this world looks and feels like.