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?
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.
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:
Thought provoking and superbly performed immersive experience with a political charge
The genius of Black Antler is it doesn’t tell us what to think 5/5
★★★★★ Uncomfortable at times and outright disturbing at others… This truly gripping piece of theatre will have you gripped
★★★★★ The cleverest and most challenging I have ever taken part in
★★★★★ As the show gets going, I become fully immersed, at times even forgetting that the situation is make-believe, which is a real credit to some of the fantastic actors… As the show ends, we wish we had more time. The beauty of Operation Black Antler is in the complete unknown
★★★★ Being outside your comfort zone is what Black Antler is all about… Unique, slightly surreal and unafraid to tackle taboos, it’s an experience you’re unlikely to find again
This reviewer’s advice is simple: go along for the ride!
It is like a shot of adrenaline straight to your moral compass
Circles and Stalls
A fascinating thrill ride that is very impressively put together and performed
It is the power and subtlety of Operation Black Antler that ensures we really do become deep swimmers in a very murky world
Live Art Alive
This project is of enormous importance and an extremely high standard… Exceptionally rewarding not to mention surprising
The immersive aspect – that requires patrons to assume false identities, locate and discreetly interrogate suspects – becomes so absorbing, so much fun, that you tend to overlook the moral context
A site specific play which asked poignant questions even more relevant today than when it was written on whether it is right to infiltrate and to survey
An immersive drama about police surveillance and political extremism, topics that are both sensitive and relevant
Operation Black Antler is a work by Blast Theory and Hydrocracker. Co-commissioned by Ideas Test and Brighton Festival, Operation Black Antler has been developed with support from Arts Council England and in partnership with Dramatic Resources.