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Site-Specific OPERATION BLACK ANTLER Looks at Surveillance at HOME Manchester


In the murky world of undercover surveillance, what will you do when the power is in your hands? Operation Black Antler, which continues HOME's reputation for presenting site-specific work at sites throughout the city centre, runs between Wed 7 - Sat 17 June 2017.

A co-creation from multi-award-winning interactive art pioneers Blast Theory and celebrated site-specific theatre company Hydrocracker, Operation Black Antler, which was a sell-out at last year's Brighton Festival, sets out to look at the moral corruption that develops with the use of undercover officers, as well as the wider ethical questions of when surveillance is justified.

Like many previous works from its creators, Operation Black Antler creates a unique perspective on the murky world of police surveillance and state intrusion, and asks important politically motivated questions about the role of the individual in society.

Upon receipt of a text message, ticket-holders will be instructed to meet at a location close to HOME, before being directed to secret locations for their undercover briefing and operation in a deeply immersive performance. The two-hour performance culminates at HOME.

"Wikileaks, the Snowden affair, and the revelations about the Special Demonstration Squad show that secret forces within the state have little respect for the law," says Matt Adams, co-founder of Blast Theory. "In Operation Black Antler you are given power and control and you have to choose how to exercise it. "It may be a work of fiction, but our experience is that works of this kind have a powerful effect on those who take part. It is not a world of easy certainties; it is challenging and it is not for everyone. We aim to create unforgettable experiences that are deeply engaged with society and politics."

"Rather than tell an audience who sit passively and watch what we think," adds Jem Wall, co-founder of Hydrocracker, "Operation Black Antler gives the audience the chance to make up their own mind as they wrestle with their own moral and ethical choices in a carefully constructed fictional world. How far is the state justified in lying to protect its citizens? And to what extent? These are the questions we want people to ask themselves after seeing this piece."

Originally co-commissioned by Ideas Test and the Brighton Festival, Operation Black Antler was developed with support from Arts Council England, the Chalk Cliff Trust, and in partnership with Dramatic Resources. Previous HOME site-specific productions include ANU's multi award-winning Angel Meadow in a disused pub in Ancoats, and Romeo & Juliet in the city's Victoria Baths, both in 2014.

Tickets £20 (concessions available). Group Ticket Offer: Book tickets for a group of six to nine people and save £2 per ticket. Tickets must be purchased together at the same time, and are subject to availability; some slots are already sold out. More information:

HOME, Manchester's centre for international contemporary art, theatre, film and books, opened its doors in 2015. HOME is a place for curiosity seekers, for lovers of the dramatic, the digital and the deeply engaging; for radicals and reciprocators. HOME works with artists to produce new and extraordinary theatre experiences, programming an exciting, eclectic mix of drama and dance with a strong focus on international work, new commissions, and talent development. Led by Artistic Director: Theatre, Walter Meierjohann, HOME has collaborated with many of the most celebrated artists on the UK and International scene, including Complicite, 1927, Simon Stephens, Hofesh Shechter, Peeping Tom, Philippe Quesne, and 59productions, home offers opportunities to theatre makers at all career stages to develop and extend their practice, presenting thought- provoking and experimental work. The patrons of HOME are Danny Boyle, former National Theatre Artistic Director Nicholas Hytner, actress SurAnne Jones, playwright and poet Jackie Kay MBE, artists Rosa Barba and Phil Collins, filmmaker Asif Kapadia, and actress and author Meera Syal CBE. Following Operation Black Antler, HOME stages Orbit 2017 (28 Sept - 15 Oct) and Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov directed by Walter Meierjohann (3 - 25 Nov), with further productions to be announced. | @HOME_mcr

BLAST THEORY has been making interactive artworks that invite you to question your place in society for 25 years. Renowned internationally as one of the most adventurous artists' groups creating ground-breaking new forms of performance and interactive art, the group has created work for the Venice Biennale and the Sundance Film Festival. Led by Matt Adams, Ju Row Farr and Nick Tandavanitj, the group's work explores the social and political aspects of technology. Drawing on popular culture and games, the work often blurs the boundaries between the real and the fictional. | @blasttheory

HYDROCRACKER creates unique performances in unusual spaces. Hydrocracker is interested in collaborative work, and in exploring how contemporary politics - its machinery and constructs - affects how we all live, particularly in the field of human rights and social justice. The company is happy working on piers, in police cells, in town halls, and restaurants, but retains a robust acting process that enables them to mine the foundations of the text and immerse the audience in an intense experience. Hydrocracker is led by Artistic Directors Jem Wall and Richard Hahlo. Hydrocracker is an Associate Company of Brighton Dome and Festival. | @hydrocrackerco

Photo Credit: John Hunter

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