As a hotbed of ‘Fake News’ and ‘Alternative Facts’ create headlines, Rosie Kay Dance Company’s new work ‘MK ULTRA’ – inspired by pop-culture conspiracy theory and the Illuminati – receives timely world premiere on Friday 17 March 2017

Media release: Monday 20 February 2017 – With each passing day we are hearing the terms ‘Fake News’, ‘Alternative Facts’ and ‘Fake Media’, reported, debated and even tweeted and proclaimed by a US President. The intersection between fact and fiction, entertainment and news, truth and conspiracy is getting blurred, leading us to question what kind of reality have we created for ourselves.

With a prophetic vision, Rosie Kay is poised perfectly to premiere her new work, MK ULTRA, a work that has been in the making for over three years with forensic research resulting in a show that could hardly be more timely and prescient.

MK ULTRA is a work about and inspired by pop-culture conspiracy theory about a shadowy elite cult called the Illuminati that control the world, brainwash child actors and singers, and controls mass opinion through puppet performers who brainwash us through their music videos and mass entertainment vehicles.

Creating a sensational audio-visual world, mixing pop-style, athletic, breath-taking dance and unique documentary footage, Kay has teamed up with film-maker Adam Curtis and fashion world wunderkind Gary Card to explore what’s real, what’s a governmental cover up, what’s a fantasy and asks if we are living in a brainwashed ‘filter bubble’.

MK ULTRA is not only an exciting new work by one of our leading UK choreographers, it’s an antidote to the oversimplification of our culture leading to polarisation and extremes.

Ahead of the 17th March world premiere, Rosie Kay commented on the influence behind MK ULTRA:

“Explaining my new work MK ULTRA to people has become a lot easier in recent weeks. Six months ago, mentioning conspiracy theory would have drawn a snort from many over the age of 25. But it is different now- ‘Fake News’ and ‘Alternative Facts’ have become the news and the fragile balance of trust between truth, the news, our leaders and the media has been fractured. The lid has been lifted, and widespread belief and knowledge of conspiracy theory is now being looked at seriously- something I’ve been advocating for several years as I researched and watched the gulf between the mainstream, the alternative and how young people were navigating their way in this confused world of distrust. Most of us have been in a state of stasis, but I have discovered young people have known and felt the disintegration of belief in our leaders and the stories they tell us.

Like our pop stars, our programming is starting to dysfunction, we are starting to see through our dream, and waking up from the sleepwalk that has taken us into the harsh reality of where we are now. As one young person put it succinctly; “we used to believe, we used to be told what was real by our leaders, but since recent events, we’ve been let down. Now we fend for ourselves.”

Kay concluded: In this new world reality, it’s not just the Illuminati, the ‘New World Order’ we need to be afraid of, it’s our lack of leadership and the forces that fill this vacuum as we stumble along, half awake, half asleep. In MK ULTRA will the characters wake up and realise that there is a new reality just around the corner, or is it ‘over the rainbow’?”

MK ULTRA receives its world premiere performances at Birmingham Repertory Theatre on 17 & 18 March and will tour to a further 10 venues across the UK until 18 May 2017.

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



For media enquiries, interview requests, press tickets, photographs and trailers, please contact: Simon Harper, Simon Harper Public Relations, or 07810 863408


ROSIE KAY DANCE COMPANY – MK ULTRA – 2017 tour dates and listings information:

Fri 17 & Sat 18 March at 7.45pm (Please note- National Press Night is Fri 17 March)

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 //



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.


Twitter: @rosiekaydanceco // Facebook: #MKUltraDance


Rosie Kay Dance Company is an internationally recognised dance-theatre company that creates exciting and challenging work that tours in unique and captivating ways to theatres and unusual spaces such as military bases. Established in 2004 the company exists to nurture and further the creative talents of choreographer and director Rosie Kay, who is recognised as a leading choreographer in dance, film and theatre. Award winning and nationally prolific (RKDC won Best Independent Company at the 2015 Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards), the company makes a dynamic range of shows, always exploring in exciting ways what dance can be and how dance can be presented. Kay’s choreographic style is highly athletic, physically demanding, risky and thrilling. Kay’s work is always grounded in research; she has strong narrative ability (though does not exclusively create narrative work) and a keen sense of theatricality. Kay’s most recent works have included significant video elements working with her theatre video designer husband Louis Price. Her work is described as engrossing, overwhelming, involving, moving, impressive, uplifting, unsettling, majestic, entrancing and breath-taking. Rosie Kay Dance Company is project funded by Arts Council England and other partners.


ROSIE KAY DIRECTOR & CHOREOGRAPHER – Rosie Kay BA (Hons) FRSA, born in Scotland, trained at London Contemporary Dance School graduating in 1998 and after a career as a performer internationally formed Rosie Kay Dance Company in 2004. Kay has created award-winning theatre work that include; Motel (2016) in collaboration and inspired by the work of visual artists Huntley Muir, Sluts of Possession (2013) in collaboration with the Pitt Rivers Museum, There is Hope (2012) exploring religion, 5 SOLDIERS – The Body Is The Frontline (2010, reworked 2015), based on extensive research with military which toured in the UK and Internationally and Double Points: K (2008) in collaboration with Emio Greco PC. Site-specific works include Haining Dreaming (2013), The Great Train Dance (2011) on the Severn Valley Railway and Ballet on the Buses (2007) in collaboration with Birmingham Royal Ballet. Kay’s film credits include Choreographer to the Box Office hit Sunshine on Leith (2013) and 5 SOLDIERS – The Film (The Herbert Gallery’s, Stadtmuseum Dresden, La Médiathèque du Centre National de la Danse, Paris).

Kay is Associate Artist of DanceXchange, Birmingham and Associate Artist, Dance City, Newcastle. Kay was the first Leverhulme Artist in Residence to the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, University of Oxford, 2013 – 2014 and has continued as a Research Associate. Awards include ‘Young Achiever of Scotland’ from The Queen, Bonnie Bird New Choreography Award and nominated as Best Modern Choreography for 5 Soldiers, National Dance Awards, 2015. Kay lives in Birmingham with her husband Louis Price and 2-year-old son, Gabriel.