The show takes place at secret locations near Home in central Manchester. The person who has booked your tickets will receive a text message 24 hours before the show with directions to the starting location. If tickets are booked after 2pm the day before the show, then the SMS will be sent a minimum of 1 hour before you begin.

Please be ready to receive this message and let everyone in your booking know the location. If you’re in any doubt that you have provided the correct phone details then contact the Blast Theory at: [email protected]

No. Only the confirmed contact for your booking will receive messages.

They will need to share details of the start location with everyone in the booking, and ensure everyone arrives at the start location on time. Latecomers will not be admitted.

If you’ve received a text message asking you to confirm your number, then you are the contact for your booking. You will receive details of your start location 24 hours before the show.

If tickets are booked after 2pm the day before the show, then the details will be sent a minimum of 1 hour before you’re due to begin. Please be ready to receive this message and let everyone in your booking know the location. You should ensure your mobile phone is fully charged to receive further instructions on the day.

As a ticket purchaser, you are responsible for ensuring the contact name and mobile phone number for participation are up to date and that all ticket holders in your booking are made aware of the starting location and of the terms and conditions for participation, as follows:

• You and all ticket holders in your booking are 16 years of age or over.

• You acknowledge that you will interact directly with members of the cast and other members of the public. The project contains adult content and challenging issues.

• You understand that you will be required to walk around central Manchester and will be responsible for your own safety when on the street and understand that Home, Blast Theory and Hydrocracker accept no responsibility for risks outside of our control.

• You agree that Home, Blast Theory and Hydrocracker jointly and severally are not liable for delays in start times.

This Wikipedia page gives an introduction to covert policing in the UK. The definitive book is Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police by Rob Evans and Paul Lewis. You can also read more about cases of police surveillance on The Guardian’s pages on the subject:

Police Spies Out Of Lives and the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance – two organisations to support those targeted by police surveillance – also provide information on specific cases.

Yes, the show is wheelchair accessible for shows starting on the hour: eg. 7:00pm and at half-past the hour. Shows beginning at 15mins and 45mins past the hour have stepped access. If you are a wheelchair user and have any questions, please contact Blast Theory at [email protected].

The show lasts between 90 – 120 mins.

Please bring your fully charged mobile phone and be prepared for walking between locations in central Manchester.

If you’d like to provide a different contact for the booking reply to the confirmation text message with ‘UPDATE’ and the name and phone number of the new contact.

If you’ve not received a confirmation text message, contact Blast Theory: [email protected] or speak to Home’s box-office team.

Reply ‘CONFIRM’ to the text message you’ve received to confirm your number. If you’d like to provide a different contact for the booking reply with ‘UPDATE’ and the name and phone number of the new contact.

You should receive this message at the end of May, if you’ve booked tickets in advance. If you’ve booked after the end of May, you should receive this message within 48 hours of buying your ticket.

If someone has booked a ticket on your behalf, they should receive a text message 24 hours before the show with directions to the starting location. If tickets are booked after 2pm the day before the show, then the message will be sent a minimum of 1 hour before you’re due to begin.

If you booked your own ticket and haven’t received a text message then contact Blast Theory at [email protected] or the Home box-office.

We have a ‘No latecomers’ policy. Please ensure everyone in your booking knows how to get to your start location in time to take part.

Wikileaks, the Snowden affair and the revelations about the Special Demonstration Squad show that secret forces within the state have little respect for law. In that context, we have set 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. Read more about why we are making this work in these two blog posts:

Blast Theory blog post  | Hydrocracker blog post

Please let us know about your experiences taking part. You can complete the online feedback form by following the link in the text message you receive after the show or by leaving your comments on the Operation Black Antler project page.

Your personal information will be used solely by Blast Theory & Hydrocracker to provide information and services which facilitate your participation in Operation Black Antler. Your personal information will not be shared with third parties and will be deleted within one month of your participation ending.

No. Blast Theory and Hydrocracker will delete your personal data within one month of your participation ending.

If you’re having problems with video playback on your phone, please get in touch at [email protected], giving details of your device make and model, and the version of Android you’re using (Settings > About Phone > Android Version)

You’ll need a minimum of 350MB of free space on your device to play Karen.

Karen for Android downloads audio and video files for all of the episodes separately from the app. You only need to download assets once, before you begin. You’ll need a minimum of 350MB of free space on your device. Please make sure you have enough space.

Karen has not been tested on Android tablets. Email [email protected] to let us know if you’re able to play and we can add your tablet to our list of supported devices.

Karen for Android installs on devices with Android version 4.0.3 and above.

If you are having any problems viewing your personalised Data Report, please contact us [email protected]

Unfortunately not, you will need to play through again to access your report.

Please make sure you have copied your code exactly as shown in the email.

Use the same case and do not enter any preceding or trailing spaces.

Please also ensure that the email address you enter is the same as the one used to back us on Kickstarter.

Please also ensure that your device is online.

If your email address has changed or your code still does not work, please contact us at [email protected]

Although Karen was developed for iPhone, the app will also work on your iPad.

By default, when you open the App Store from your iPad, it will only show you iPad apps, so you won’t immediately be able to find Karen. You will need to change your App Store settings so you can view both iPhone and iPad apps. There are some instructions on how to do this here.

If you are experiencing problems, please contact us on [email protected]

Players who have completed the app and entered their email address at the start of the experience will receive an invitation from Karen to meet in person at a secret location in the UK. With a little help from National Theatre Wales, Karen is organising something special. Invitations will be sent in September 2015.

You can access your personalised Data Report at the end of your Karen experience.

Simply click on the ‘What does Karen know about you? Find out here’ link.

If you are returning to the app to access your report, when you re-open the app you should automatically land on the last page you were on. Here you will see the ‘What does Karen know about you? Find out here’ link and you will be able to access your report.

The report will be available to view from within the Karen app only so please don’t delete Karen from your phone.

The in-app purchase costs £2.99. If you are a Kickstarter backer, you will have received a code to download the report for free.

If you experience any problems, please email us at [email protected]

Karen is a work by Blast Theory, developed in partnership with National Theatre Wales.

Co-commissioned by The Space and 539 Kickstarter backers, Karen has been developed with support from the Mixed Reality Lab at the University of Nottingham and in collaboration with Dr Kelly Page.

We were keen to create a personal and intimate experience for smartphones in which you interact directly with the lead character. We wanted you to be challenged about how honest and open you might be and to experience the thrill of having your personality appraised.

We also became fascinated with big data, and particularly how governments and large companies such as Facebook are collecting data on us secretly and using it without our consent. We feel it’s our job as artists to pose questions about this new world where technology is ever more personalised and intrusive. We love having our services tailored to us and we’re scared of the price we’re paying for that personalisation.

Each session with Karen is a few minutes long and the full app experience takes 10 days to complete.

You can feedback on your experience with Karen in a number of ways:

1. Rate the app in the App Store at any point by clicking the Rate button at the end of each session.

2. Email any feedback to [email protected]. We’d love to hear from you!

3. Join the Twitter conversations about Karen using #KarenIsMyLifeCoach or #KarenApp

4. Join the discussions on the National Theatre Wales Community board here: 

5. Start or join a conversation on Reddit


For iOS try quitting the app by double-tapping your home button and swiping Karen to close it. When you re-open the app it should begin the episode again.

For Android try quitting the app and re-opening.

If you’re still having problems email us at [email protected].

Try quitting the app by double-tapping your home button and swiping Karen to close it. When you re-open the app it should begin the episode again.

If you’re still having problems email us at [email protected].

You can’t replay individual episodes of Karen. However, If you’d like to restart an episode once you’ve begun, quit the app before the episode ends.

For iOS double-tap your home button and swipe Karen to close it.

For Android quit the app according to the instructions of your device.

When you re-open the app it should begin this episode again.

Please make sure the volume on your device is turned up. You may need to do this more than once if you insert or remove headphones. Please also ensure that the mute button on the side of your phone is turned off (so that the red flash is not visible). Please also note that the intro sequence has only quiet background noise.

You will receive a personal promo code by email. You can then enter this code when you reach the last page of the app.

Please keep your code safe – it’s valid for one install of the app and you’ll need to enter the email address you registered on Kickstarter to use it. If you experience any problems, please email us at [email protected].

You can request a complete copy of your data from Karen by emailing us at: [email protected].

Your data is used purely to personalise your experience of the app and it will not be shared with any third parties.

We will also collate player data to build the Karen Data Report, which will contain statistics of how players measure on psychological scales from openness to neuroticism to emotional guilt and show how these factors were used in the story.

Data collated for this report is anonymised. You can download a personalised data report after you have finished playing – please see ‘How do I download my data?’.

We may also share generic aggregated information, not linked to any personal identification information regarding individual players, with our research partners, funding partners as part of presentations and to other players as part of the Data Report.

If you have any questions, you can email us at [email protected]

Your personalised report will give an insight into how you measure on psychological scales from openness to neuroticism to emotional guilt, and shows how these factors were used in the story.

Karen is available on the App Store and Google Play Store to download for free. Search for ‘Karen by Blast Theory’ to download the app.

Karen is a life coach and she’s happy to help you through a few things in your life.

You interact with Karen through an app. When you begin, she asks you some questions about your outlook on the world to get an understanding of you. In fact, her questions are drawn from psychological profiling questionnaires. She – and the software – are profiling you and she gives you advice based on your answers.

You can view the privacy policy on our website here.

For iOS, Karen runs on an iPhone 4S or newer and requires iOS 7 or greater.
For Android, Karen runs on Android 4.0.3 or greater and has been tested on: HTC One, Sony Experia z3, Moto E and Nexus 5 on Android 4.4, Samsung Galaxy Tab2 on Android 4.2.2.

Blast Theory is an artists’ group that was founded in London in 1991. There are three artists Matt Adams, Ju Row Farr and Nick Tandavanitj. They are supported by a team led by Business Director – Kirsty Jennings and Administrator – Dan Lamont. Blast Theory has a group of Associate Artists’ who we have regularly worked with over more than 10 years.

We have had a board of trustees since 1994 and we regularly collaborate with a range of people from software developers to musicians. There is also usually a volunteer working with Blast Theory for nine months of the year.

The name Blast Theory comes from Wyndham Lewis’s Vorticist manifesto, BLAST, which was published in 1914.

We started making work in 1991.

We were a group of creative people who worked in the Renoir Cinema in London and went clubbing a lot and saw a lot of art, dance, music cinema and theatre. We liked the excitement of going to events at unusual locations, the thrill of waiting for something unknown to unfold, of being with our friends and with strangers in environments which were a heady mix of music, sweaty dancing bodies and projected visuals. These experiences felt vital and the combination of elements intoxicating and alive. At the same time we liked the production values of theatre and dance, the possibilities of high quality work produced where every inch and moment was considered and crafted for maximum audience engagement and impact. But we didn’t feel these forms were talking to us about what was going on for us and our peer group, in a wider context.

We had no intention of some kind of long running career as artists. We got together because we felt an urgency, an deep desire to make something that sat in the middle of what mattered to us in life. And we felt that other people wanted this too.

We found an article in The Guardian about a killing at a mobile shop in Northern Ireland. It was described in such a way that we could imagine it immediately as a reconstruction, the 2 girls, the 3 gunmen, what was said.

We invited 10 people to our house which included a DJ, a writer, a film maker, a performer and an installation artist. We talked to them about the article and said we wanted to make something about this and were they interested to be involved in it with us. This led to Gunmen Kill Three at the Union Chapel in Islington in London. There were 8 of us in the work and 8 people operating the work. It was a club, that changed into a promenade performance and then back into a club at the end.

We work with a wide variety of people, from performers and production managers, through to coders and musicians.

The best way to find out about these opportunities is to sign up to our email newsletter or to check on our website. We have an ongoing volunteer programme. You can volunteer with us for between 1-3 months and call outs for this happen in the summer each year.

You can subscribe to our email newsletter here.

Yes you can.

We are always on the look out for people who would like to be more involved in our projects and there are many opportunities to be involved in tests, feedback, discussions and showings.

If you’re interested in helping us out you’ll need to become one of Our Friends Electric, this is our membership group and once you’ve signed up you have the option to become a beta tester. As well as getting access to exclusive material you’ll also be the first to know about any opportunities we have for taking part in our work.

Primarily, we offer mentoring to people who take part in Blast Theory’s residency programme at 20 Wellington Road.  This runs for 9 months a year, is open to artists, scientists, writers, researchers, software/hardware developers to name a few and you can apply in the summer – look out for this in our news and in our email newsletter.

We receive a large number of requests to mentor artists and advise on projects which we are not always able to meet.

Subscribe to our email newsletter here

To discuss mentoring opportunities please call Dan Lamont on +441273413455

We don’t take interns but instead we run a volunteer programme. This is an opportunity for those embarking on a career in the arts to have first-hand experience of working with an artists company.

Our programme covers a wide range of activity including office administration, project management, database management, touring, archiving, marketing and publicity. At times you will also be required to assist the artists on creative project development and realisation. An important aspect of the volunteer programme is developing networks and new contacts and our staff are happy to provide advice on career directions and options.

We’ve got full details on our website here where you can find our more information about the application process and read testimonials from our previous volunteers.


You log-into play on the website and are dropped into the virtual world. The aim of the game is to avoid being caught by the runners who are live in the city.

Minimum Requirements

  • PC: 700Mhz CPU, 3D graphics card, sound card and speakers
  • Mac: 500 Mhz G3 Mac and above, Mac OS9+ & OSX 10.2.8+

3D performance may be poor on machines that only have software rendering. Control-click (right click on PCs) on the 3D window in the game to choose your preferred 3D renderer, usually Open GL or Direct X. Additional information about supported hardware and 3D renderers can be found at Macromedia’s website here

Browsers: Netscape 4+, Internet Explorer 5+, Mozilla 1.0+.

Safari is not supported. Mozilla may require you to refresh the page, the first time you load the game. You’ll need the Shockwave plugin (version 10) for your browser. Download it here

Internet: The game can be played on a 56Kb dial-up connection. If you are playing from behind a firewall you will need outgoing ports: 80, 1626 and 1628. No incoming ports need be opened. If you have any problems email [email protected] and we’ll try to get back to you as soon as we can.

There are six but only three run at one time.

The runners carry a handheld computer connected to a Global Positioning System receiver. The handheld computer is part of a wireless network. This means that wherever the runners go they are connected to each other and to the virtual world. They can see all the players on their screen.

It’s a live transmission of everything that is said between the runners on their walkie talkies.

If the runner gets within 5m then you are “seen”. Your game is over. The runner announces that they’ve seen you and then takes a photo of the exact spot where they saw you. Within a day or two, those photos will be on this site and you can search for yourself to find where you were caught.

Yes, play as many times as you like.

All you need is a mobile phone with SMS. You play by replying to text messages sent to you by the game. To play, you must visit the model town to create a figurine.

Yes, you must visit the model town to create a figurine.

No, you can only register your own mobile phone to play.

About 10 minutes, once you’ve come to the the model town.

No, once you’ve created your figurine you don’t need to come back to the model town. If you do return to the venue you can track the movements of other figurines and see the messages going in and out of the game.

Anyone with a mobile phone can play. See more on the costs for SMS.

You will receive between 2 and 20 messages each day depending on how much you play and where you go in the town. We take great care to make sure you are not overloaded with messages and if you stop sending messages to the game, the number you receive will reduce quickly.

Rider Spoke is the world’s first interactive game on a bike, it mixes art, theatre and location-based technologies.

The Mixed Reality Lab are part of University of Nottingham  – it is a world famous interdisciplinary computer science and IT research lab, pursuing leading edge research in interactive media and mixed reality.  A dedicated studio facility where computer scientists, psychologists, sociologists, engineers, architects and artists collaborate to explore the potential of mobile and mixed reality technologies to shape everyday life.

IPerG is an Integrated Project funded under the European Commission’s IST Program. IPerG researches both technical and design aspects of pervasive games. The objective of IPerG is to develop infrastructure, tools and methods for pervasive games. The project started on 1 Sept 2004, and has a duration of 42 months. It has a total of 6 MEU funding from the IST Program.

Credit card for deposit.

Bike and helmet if you don’t want to rent.

No, unless that is a legal requirement in your country.

18 years old and over is ideal.

Yes, if you are normally safe to cycle.

You don’t need to bring anything.

As far as you like, as long as you can get back to the start within the hour time slot.

Don’t worry if you are a little bit late, but it is essential you are back within an hour and a half, or you will ruin the game for the next person playing.

You cannot search for anyone by name, but you can search in a particular location if they tell you where they have hidden their recordings.

You have to answer one question to start the game, after that it is up to you.

Do not worry too much, if you do need help getting back, refer to the map under the saddle, if you are still lost call the number.

Call the emergency number on the phone.

It is possible to record alternative versions in different languages, as well as English we have so far performed versions in Germany and Seoul. Please get in touch for more information.

You will be going out onto the streets, making and receiving phonecalls via a mobile phone. The caller will ask you to choose whether you want to be Ulrike or Eamon and will talk to you as if you were that person. You will be given directions during the phonecall and will be asked to make recordings.

About 40 minutes.

You will need to return to the starting point to receive a new phone.

You can always return to the desk whenever you want.

Someone will be watching you and will call you to help get you back on track.

Ulrike Meinhof

Born in 1934, Ulrike Meinhof rose to prominence as a journalist during the 1960s. She became increasingly militant following the shooting of a student at a demonstration against the Shah of Iran in 1967.
She participated in the violent freeing of Andreas Baader from prison in 1970. From then she, Baader and Gudrun Ensslin led the Red Army Faction in a campaign of bank robberies, bombings and shootings until her capture in 1972.
In 1976 she hung herself in prison.

Eamon Collins

Eamon Collins ws born in Northern Ireland in 1954. As a Customs Officer he began to pass information to the IRA in the late 1970s. He joined the Newry branch, planning assassinations before rising to the ‘Nutting Squad’ in charge of internal security.
In 1982 he was arrested and became a supergrass. He later retracted his evidence. Nevertheless many convictions still followed and on his release he was banished to Dublin. In 1999 he was killed near his home.

A Machine To See With lasts for about 45 minutes – 1 hour.

To take part you will need to buy a ticket and have a fully charged mobile phone to use throughout the work.  We will take your number and call you with your start location on the day of the work.