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Preview: MK Ultra at Newcastle Dance City

MK Ultra
Newcastle Dance City
Friday 28th& Saturday 29th April 2017

A new dance work inspired by the bizarre realm of pop culture, mind control conspiracies and Illuminati imagery

MK ULTRA reunites award-winning 5 SOLDIERS creative team

Lady Gaga designer Gary Card creates his first costume designs for contemporary dance
Rosie Kay Dance Company, headed by artistic director and choreographer Rosie Kay and winner of Best Independent Company at the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards in 2015, will tour its new work MK Ultrafrom 17 March to 18 May 2017.

Rosie Kay Dance Company - MK ULTRA
photo: Brian Slater
Rosie Kay is one of the UK’s leading female choreographers and is renowned for her athletic movement, rigorous research and intelligent theatricality. 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 (NETG: REVIEW LINK).  

Following several years exploring the weird world of conspiracy theories, inspired by the bizarre realm of pop culture, mind control and Illuminati imagery, MK ULTRA will bring a hypnotic, high energy, supercharged mash-up of dance, music and imagery to the stage.
Renowned for tackling important, pertinent and challenging subject matters, RKDC looks at a weird world of symbolism, hidden messages and occult signs and deconstructs it for an aware and an unaware audience.
MK Ultra is a CIA code word 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, Justin Bieber and Rhianna - puppets of the ‘Illuminati’, a shadowy elite intent on creating a New World Order of authoritarian world government.

In MK Ultra, Kay, with a typically fearless eye, delves deeply into this world and conjures up something entirely new, subverting the subversive. If you didn’t know about the Illuminati, you soon will and if you did, expect MK Ultra to shatter the Illuminati’s illusory control.

For MK Ultra, Kay is reunited with the award winning 5 Soldiers creative team- composer Annie Mahtani (Asylum, Supernova and 5 Soldiers); set and video designer Louis Price (designs include: The Emperor, Young Vic/Théâtre de la Ville de Luxembourg; The Rotters Club, Birmingham Rep; Stravinsky: Tales, Philarmonia/RFH Southbank; The Etienne Sisters, Theatre Royal Stratford; The Funfair, Home, Manchester and 5 Soldiers); lighting designer Mike Gunning (designs include: The Emperor, Inkheart, Romeo and Juliet, Home, Manchester; Crime and Punishment, Moscow Musical Theater; The Drowned Man, Punch Drunk; Dangerous Lady, Theatre Royal Stratford East; The Second Mrs Tanqueray, The Rose Theatre Kingston; The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, The Alchemist, Everyman, Liverpool; and 5 Soldiers); and dramaturg Tessa Walker.
Marking his first design for contemporary dance is MK Ultra’s costume designer Gary Card. A set designer, illustrator and one of London’s most talked about talents, Card has worked with pop stars such as Lady Gaga, designing props and headdresses for her Monster Ball tour. His clients have included Comme Des Garçons, Topshop, House of Holland, Nike, Adidas, Stella McCartney and Penguin.
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.
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 any more, MK Ultra looks at what this world really feels like and what affect it is having on us, whether we know it or not.
I’m working with the most exciting team, which includes costume designer Gary Card who has worked with everyone from Stella McCartney to Lady Gaga. Long-time collaborators return with Louis Price doing set and video design, Annie Mahtani composing and adapting high produced pop, and Mike Gunning designing the lighting. Tessa Walker joins as dramaturg from Birmingham REP.
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 will feature seven outstanding dancers- Shanelle Clemenson, Harriet Ellis, Shelley Eva Haden, Lizzie Klotz, Joao Maio, Ryan Munroe and Oliver Russell.
MK Ultra is supported using public funding by Arts Council England and is commissioned by DanceXchange, Warwick Arts Centre & Birmingham Repertory Theatre. 

Age Guidance:14+ - this is a guideline not a restriction. The work deals with adult themes including those of a sexual nature.

Duration:Approximately 90 minutes, including interval.
On The Web:
Twitter: @rosiekaydanceco // Facebook: #MKUltraDance
2017 tour dates and listings information:
Fri 17 & Sat 18 March at 7.45pm
Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Broad Street, BIRMINGHAM, B1 2EP
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

Wed 5 April at 7.30pm
York Theatre Royal, St Leonard's Place, YORK, YO1 7HD

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 TheatreBishops Road, INVERNESS, IV3 5SA

Friday 28th& Saturday 29th April at 7.30pm

Dance City, Temple Street, NEWCASTLE, NE1 4BR

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
WarwickArts Centre, University of Warwick, COVENTRY, CV4 7AL
Tickets: 024 7652 4524 //

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

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