Video still for Operation Black Antler

Go undercover for one night to explore the moral corruption at the heart of state surveillance. What will you do when the power is in your hands?

Operation Black Antler is an immersive theatre piece that invites you to enter the murky world of undercover surveillance and question the morality of state-sanctioned spying.

In Operation Black Antler you are given a new identity as part of a small team; you are briefed and then sent into an undercover operation. From a first-hand perspective, you must make decisions and then reflect on the consequences of your decisions. What will you do when the power is in your hands?

Watch the trailer.


For 40 years British police officers have been undercover inside protest groups. Scandals such as Wikileaks, the Snowden affair and the revelations about the Special Demonstration Squad show that secret forces within the state have little respect for law.

Co-created with critically acclaimed immersive theatre company Hydrocracker, Operation Black Antler seeks to explore this moral corruption as well as the wider ethical questions of when surveillance is justified.

From a firsthand perspective, you must make decisions about what is and what is not acceptable. And then reflect on the consequences of your decisions.

[T]his kind of imaginative conspiracy shakes one up a bit, makes one look at the world differently and obliges one to engage in lively, post-event debate about the morality or police surveillance.

Michael Billington

The Guardian

For more information on the development of Operation Black Antler, read a blog by Blast Theory artist Matt Adams

Further reading and more about the themes explored in Operation Black Antler:

Undercover with Rob Evans and Paul Lewis

Liberty Human Rights: No Snooper’s Charter

Police Spies Out Of Lives

This copy has been amended to better reflect the intentions of the artists as a result of direct concerns from the public. Brighton Festival, Blast Theory and Hydrocracker apologise for the misleading representation of the piece and hope the above corrections help to clarify.

Operation Black Antler is a new work by Blast Theory and Hydrocracker.

Co-commissioned by Ideas Test and Brighton FestivalOperation Black Antler has been developed with support from Arts Council England and in partnership with Dramatic Resources.

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  1. Stuart Richardson
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    An interesting insight into undercover activity . I just felt very uncomfortable at role playing a individual with right wing views to gain the confidenceof an actor acting right wing views . Perhaps in hindsight I should have expressed my true colours of one who is politically a left wing Socialistand challenged the actor Portraying Micky . I am aware that historically the events are very near the truth when Brighton was threatened by the activities of Combat 18 at several Brighton Pride events .Thanks to undercover surveillance no harm happenedand the police dealt with the offenders . The venue was very convincing and so were the costmes, so much so that I did forget I was talking to actors . Micky wearing a Lonsdale top , in Germany a lonsdale top underneath a MA1 jacket will get you arrestedespecially if it just shows the letters NSDA . Rachel wearing a Fred Perry shirt . Football shirts , the far right ran a well organised campaign of violence in many football stadiums .