Rosie Kay’s “5 Soldiers”



In 2008, choreographer Rosie Kay joined the 4th Battalion The Rifles, to watch and participate in full battle exercises, and visited the Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre for our Armed Forces. What came of these observations is this award-winning, five-star work.

Deeply realistic, stark and thrilling, 5 SOLDIERS offers no moral stance on war, but instead questions what it is that we ask of our soldiers and explores how the human body remains essential to war, even in the 21st century, with Kay’s trademark intense physical and athletic dance theatre.


“Lust, shock and awe… 5 SOLDIERS is a disturbing, illuminating and necessary glimpse into a world we mostly prefer to ignore” Judith Mackrell in The Guardian, Top 10 Dance of 2015


A moving, dramatic and unique work, based on military field research, exploring how the human body remains essential to war, even in the 21st century.


★★★★★ The Scotsman

“not only keeps us riveted,

but helps close the gap of

understanding between the

armed forces and the

general public.”



★★★★★ The Herald

“Rosie Kay’s five soldiers

are dancers, but in-depth

background researches

have grounded her moves

and their delivery in the

physicality, camaraderie

and mental challenges of

army life.

★★★★★ The Observer

“War from a female

perspective packs a

punch…taut, visceral,



Choreographer of the hit film Sunshine on Leith, Kay’s trademark style of intense physical and

athletic dance theatre has earned five star reviews, a nomination for Best Modern Choreography

in the National Dance Awards and topped the Best Dance of 2015 charts in The Observer, The

Guardian and The Independent.


“A very moving experience. I wasn’t expecting it to have that sort of effect on me. A clever and

evocative representation of combat presented in a medium that I never thought it could be

before.” General Sir Nick Parker, former Commander of the British Land Forces


The Observer

18 for ’18: the talent and trends tipped for the top in 2018 – Observer writers on what to look forward to in the coming year

“Harriet Ellis – Dance’s daring new talent: Cool of gaze, economical of movement, and as sharp and fast as a sparrowhawk, Ellis is a dancer for all seasons.  In 5 Soldiers she was punchy and taut-wired, her femininity and vulnerability locked tight inside herself.” 


The Stage

2017: Best Opera and Dance of the year

“And when I finally caught up with Rosie Kay’s Five Soldiers, which has been touring around the UK, it was as good as I had heard – a serious attempt to explore the effect of military training and combat on four men and a girl.” 


The Observer

Best dance of 2017

“In these post-truth days, conspiracy theories abound. Choreographer Rosie Kay and film-maker Adam Curtis spotlit some of these in their hallucinatory MK Ultra, a danced decryption of the fantastical threads running through popular culture.” 


Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards 2017 nominations:

Best Independent Company

Outstanding Female Performance (modern): Shelley Eva Haden in MK ULTRA


Performances will be followed by a post-show discussion with local military representation where possible.


Performances can be preceded by a short dance work made by local community members in response to 5 SOLDIERS.


Age Guidance 12+ Parental guidance advised, contains some scenes of violence.


Duration: 60 mins (no interval)



Choreographer & Director Rosie Kay

Producer James Preston

Dancers Duncan Anderson, Luke Bradshaw, Reece Causton, Harriet Ellis & Oliver Russell.

Set, Costume and Video Designer Louis Price

Composer Annie Mahtani

Dramaturg Ben Payne

Lighting Designer Mike Gunning

5 SOLDIERS 2017 trailer from Rosie Kay on Vimeo.

5 SOLDIERS Technical Rider

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