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Third Angel presents

Experiment Zero (Theatre Version)

Experiment Zero poster designed by DED Associates, photography by Rob Hardy.

Devised by the company

Performed by
Heather Burton
Jamie Iddon
Rachael Walton
with Tim Hall on screen.

Designed & Directed by
Alexander Kelly
Rachael Walton

Cinematography by
Robert Hardy

Editing by
Christopher Hall

Art Direction (film)
Sophie Boddington

Lighting Design (stage) 
Andy Clarke
Alexander Kelly
Tour Technician
Alexander Kelly

Early devising work and
work-in-progress performances by
Tim Hall
Rob Hardy
Alexander Kelly
Rachael Walton

Supported by an R&D award from ACE’s Combined Arts Department, and funded by the Yorkshire Media Production Agency, Yorkshire Arts and Sheffield City Council and the creative team. Supported by the northern media school.

We spent nights on Mars, we drove into sunsets too artificial to be real and the soundtrack just kept getting louder and louder. We travelled for no other reason than to see where the lines ran out. We kept journals that we hid from each other because of the secret lies that we told ourselves, and slowly we began to question if it wasnt all part of a dream after all…

Three people have decided to live in the world of the movies, whatever the consequences. Not movie stars, but movie characters. They have invented a modern noir for themselves to inhabit. They don’t wear clothes, they wear costume: suits, high heels, dark glasses. It is a world full of whisky bottles, syringes, suitcases, film canisters, old videotapes and guns. But then something goes wrong in their movie world, and maybe in the real world too; if you kill a man in the movies, he doesn’t die in the real world, too, does he?
The three performers tell their conflicting versions of the tale, on a stark steel set, often semi hidden by stacks of metal shelves; miniature video projection is caught on white suitcases and torn card; walkie talkies help, and hinder, communication; Rachael smokes, Heather dances, Jamie sets up the camera and an in-mouth microphone for an extreme close up.


Work-in-progress performances at Site Gallery in 1997. The show premiered at the Nuffield Theatre, Lancaster, followed by tour of England and Scotland 1997-98.

Film Stills

Performance Stills

Research & Development

We undertook early R&D focussed on combining live performance with film and video, setting ourselves the challenge that we would not use TV monitors on stage or large-scale cinema style video projection at the back of the space. It proved to be very important process for us.

Giant speech balloons blown up from real comics. Invented journeys. Real postcards sent from other countries in a past decade. Live performers catching their own video images, playing characters (usually detectives) inappropriate to the text they were delivering. UFO attacks staged with paper plates, string, a broomstick and a box of cereal, filmed and reframed. Scratching directly onto 16mm film. A video of man walking, but never arriving anywhere… the start of something; of several somethings, in fact…

The fifties sci-fi theme from the photographic installation continued into this performance R&D project, and connected with more film noir inspired characters and video work, travelogues, maps, postcards, letters from the road. Rob, who had suggested the title, finally admitted he’d stolen it from a Man Or Astroman album, and brought it in for us to rehearse with. 

These three weeks resulted in the video-catching technique used in this version of Experiment Zero and also Class of ‘76. The postcards would get their own show in Chris & Alex’s installation 23 Postcards From America. Three work-in-progress performances were presented at Site Gallery. Packed out on the first and last night. On the second night an audience of 7, made up entirely of funders and promoters.

We did the R&D work itself in Sheffield Independent Film Studio (5 Brown Street), and presented the work at Site Gallery (1 Brown Street). Both organisations were great supporters of us in the early years (which we were pleased to be able to return in the years that followed). We had an office at SIF at the time, but moved into Site Gallery shortly after these presentations.

There's lots more information about making and touring Third Angel projects 2008-2017 on our original blog, and 2017-2023 on the blog on this site.