“Acting is an emergency, and in an emergency you do whatever works. What you do in a fire drill may bear no resemblance to what you do in an actual fire, but your chances of survival are greatly improved by a past enactment of the drills.” – Deb Margolin

‘It’s a dress rehearsal for the real thing.
And you have a duty to make it real.’

Award-winning multimedia theatre-makers Breach have previously explored re-enacting the past – from a 1985 clash between riot police and New Age travellers in The Beanfield, to a 1960s experiment into teaching dolphins English in Tank. In this ambitious new show, the company investigates rehearsing for the future – through safety drills and emergency response training.

From workshops in our workplaces to the large-scale scenarios using actors, fake wounds and explosives we see on the news, what kinds of futures are we being encouraged to picture and prepare for – and how might these ‘rehearsals’ bleed into our off-stage lives?

Mashing up documentary film and devised theatre in the company’s signature deconstructed style, The Drill examines how anxieties around security and terrorism have become ingrained in the daily life of today’s cities, and asks whether we might be able to imagine and practice something radically different.

“Intriguing… This is a show built on high tension… A tense and deeply troubling examination of the thing that we call ‘terror’.” – The Greater Manchester Reviewer

“A brave production… Feels viscerally relevant to Manchester… A powerful and uncomfortable watch.” – Unrestricted Views

“[The Drill] gives no answers but poses intriguing questions allowing the audience to come to its own conclusion.” – Mancunian Matters

“Realistic and often darkly comic, this 60-minute play is both thrilling and thought provoking. It is important to be prepared, but preparation can be even more stressful than the real thing…” – The Manchester Review

The Drill is a cerebral rather than an emotional experience… A thought-provoking play.” – Manchester Theatre Awards

“I left the theatre genuinely curious about how I would respond in a simulated crisis situation… The Drill began to pique my interest and prove that their show delivers some level of political engagement.” – Harpy magazine

Breach create sharply intelligent and thought-provoking documentary-style theatre… A thought-provoking piece of theatre.” – Live Art Alive

★★★★ “[Breach] get your mind whirring at full speed with tangents about racist assumptions, profitable paranoia and a sculpted, air-brushed and gentrified society. Bit by bit, The Drill bores into your brain.” – What’s On Stage

★★★★ “Elegantly and powerfully poses these questions in a way that is truly unique and provocative.” – The Peg

“An inspired and conceptually fresh new show.” – Theatre Bubble

“A slippery explanation of terrorism… Continues Breach’s trend for tricky, layered, meticulous theatre.” – Time Out

Read this Guardian feature to find out more about The Drill.

The Drill is co-commissioned by Battersea Arts Centre, The Bike Shed Theatre, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, New Diorama Theatre and HOME, and supported by Arts Council England.


  • Running time: 1hr (no interval)
  • Recommended age: 14yrs+
  • Please note: The Drill explores our response to emergency scenarios and terrorism. The production features haze and video footage of simulated injury.
  • £12.50 full (concs. available)