Invisible Empire

Invisible Empire takes us on a journey from conformity and alienation to violent resistance.

How is it that ordinary people can find themselves resorting to violence in an attempt to change the world? What makes a someone decide to shoot a politician, to blow up a building, to strap on a bomb?

Interweaving dynamic ensemble movement, layered text and breathtaking polyphonic singing, Invisible Empire builds from the mundane and every day to a climax of shattering ferocity.


Invisible Empire began with a curiosity about what drives people to extreme acts of resistance.

We identified needs: for understanding, for touch, for love, for acceptance. Needs that, when thwarted, can darken, turn inwards, and drive us towards a violent explosion that tries to remake a world gone wrong.

We began to locate a feeling of trappedness and a yearning for escape – escape from everything and nothing – escape perhaps even from ourselves.

Invisible Empire was the culmination of an intermittent year-long process of company training in singing and movement, as well as collective research into acts of resistance.

Invisible Empire premiered in 2013 at Summerhall and toured in Spring 2014 to selected venues in Scotland including Woodend Barn, Aboyne Theatre, Cumbernauld Theatre, Summerhall and Platform.


Maïté Delafin, Rodrigo Malvar, Jonathan Peck, Anna Porubcansky, Tom Pritchard

Music Direction:
Anna Porubcansky and Ewan Downie

Directed by:
Ewan Downie

Lighting Design:
Lex Burnhams

Project development supported by Creative Scotland

Tour supported by The National Lottery through Creative Scotland

In partnership with Woodend Barn, Conflux, Dance House and Summerhall


I had to restrain myself from shrieking because it was just so damn exciting.  I don’t remember when I last felt so exhilarated!  It was like a whip cracking onstage – totally mesmerizing and intrinsically powerful.

Audience Member, Summerhall

A cry from the dark that lingers

The Glasgow Herald

It’s not often that a show leaves an audience sitting in silence for two minutes after the cast has left …

The Public Reviews