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The Distraction Agents

​Media Release

Third Angel presents

The Distraction Agents
A virtual experience with real-world challenges

From June 14 2021 for four weeks

Do you have what it takes to be a Distraction Agent?

The Department Of Distractions is recruiting new Agents. The Department is a shadowy organisation with a contested purpose: is it harmlessly bringing light relief and moments of intrigue into people’s stressful lives, or is its job to distract us from what’s really going on? Either way, are you made of the right stuff? Will you pass the test?

You caught our attention. You are special.

We’re looking for people who see the world in a slightly different way.

People who notice things others don’t. And we think that might be you.

 Part puzzle, part game, part film, part real life, The Distraction Agents is an on and offline experience, arriving first as an intriguing package through the post, full of beautifully designed printed materials. This is followed by a series of videos sent via email over a week, in which four members of The Department guide players through the challenges, and offer hints as to how to get on as a new recruit.

 Third Angel’s last show, The Department Of Distractions, had to be packed away mid-tour in March 2020. But Co-Artistic Directors Alexander Kelly and Rachael Walton knew that there was more to be found in the world in which that show existed.

“It seemed so rich to us, even before the tour was cut short by the pandemic we were thinking about other stories to tell and games to play with it” said Kelly.

The Distraction Agents has also provided the opportunity to bring together some enduring themes and preoccupations of the creative team, such as maps and detective narratives. “We’ve always used gaming mechanics to devise and rehearse shows, and we’re not alone in that of course, but for this show we’ve designed puzzles from scratch even written an adventure game book. It’s been great fun but an enormous amount of hard work! We’re really looking forward to seeing players tackle it.”

Playtesters said, “We REALLY enjoyed the whole thing. It was lovely to have something to do that used our brains AND was fun. That’s a hard mix to get.” “…after the first game we were really looking forward to the next.” “It was a fantastic experience and I really enjoyed it.”

The cast features Third Angel regulars Umar Butt (Alex & Eliza (as writer), My Name Is, Tamasha Theatre Company, The Journeys, Third Angel), Stacey Sampson (This is England, Channel 4 Partus, Third Angel), and Nicholas Chambers (The Great Gatsby, Wilton’s Music Hall, The Life & Loves of a Nobody, Third Angel) who have developed their characters from the 2020 tour.

Crafted with the dexterous narrative, attention to detail and humour for which Third Angel is renowned, the first of four consecutive The Distraction Agents playweeks starts on 14 June and tickets are on sale now.

“The great thing about Third Angel is that you never know what you’re going to get… Heavenly work.” Guardian on Third Angel


Dates:             14, 21, 28 June and 5 July

Time:                at your own pace, over a week.           

Tickets:            £15 plus booking fee

Venue:              On and offline




Devised & written by the Company

PALADIN: Umar Butt 
LOCKHART: Nick Chambers  
DAPHNE: Stacey Sampson 
FREYA: Rachael Walton
Conceived by Alexander Kelly & Rachael Walton

Dramaturgy by Stacey Sampson 
Films Directed by Brett Chapman & Rachael Walton 
Camera, sound & edit by Brett Chapman 
Art Direction by Bethany Wells 
Stage Manager & Covid-19 Officer: Louise Gregory 
Published Objects designed by Alexander Kelly, Rachael Walton & Bethany Wells 
Sound Consultant: Heather Fenoughty

Online resources

Third Angel has been monitoring the work of The Department for a while now, looking out for it in the street, and in the world at large. To see what has been spotted so far, search the hashtag #TheDepartmentOfDistractions on Instagram. 



Twitter             @thirdangeluk

Instagram        @third_angel_uk

Press contact:

For further information, interviews, images or to request press tickets contact Hilary Foster / 0114 272 4974 / 07767 693069


Third Angel is a theatre company based in Sheffield, led by Co-artistic Directors Alexander Kelly and Rachael Walton. Founded in 1995, the company has been touring exciting, innovative and entertaining performance work across the UK and internationally for the last 23 years, in theatres, art centres, cinemas, pubs, swimming pools, car parks, a public toilet in Bristol and a damp cellar in Leicester.  

The company produces work that combines theatre, live art, film, video and photography, often combining media and across a variety of platforms including touring work throughout the UK, Europe, the Middle East, North and South America. Third Angel is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation and an Associate Company of Sheffield Theatres.




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