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HighRise Entertainment: The UK Drill Project

The Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award

A performer wearing a face covering and holding a bunch of white flowers crouches down in front of a block of flats. Behind them a group of 3 other performers stand talking.

Challenging myths about UK Drill music and its links to youth violence, this radically honest and direct show takes real-life experiences to explore the truths behind the headlines.

Drill originated from Chicago’s Southside rap scene that gained popularity in the early 2010’s. With its melodic and dark undertones, its coded lyrics often explore the aspirations and struggles of young people.

Developed through conversation with artists on the scene, this new show explores the perceived relationship between musicality and criminality. With the criminal justice system putting this music on trial and the ensuing moral panic in the media, can we as a society really blame an art form for a spike in violence?

HighRise Entertainment are an acclaimed theatre collective whose work uses original music, video projection and first-hand testimony to represent unheard voices and forgotten communities. Led by Artistic Director Dominic Garfield, they are winners of the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award in 2022.

Running time: Approximately 2 hours (including an interactive exhibition on UK Drill culture and the history of oppressed musical subcultures in the UK.)

Age guidance: 16+
Please note: This show contains distressing scenes, strong language and references to racism, drugs and violence.
For more information, take a look at the Content Warnings guide.

Tue 8 Nov, 7.45pm 
BSL-Interpreted performance by Tara Asher and Grace Buckle followed by a post-show talk (also BSL-Interpreted).

Wed 9 Nov, 7.45pm 
Relaxed performance

Take a look at our Accessible Events page to find out more about the accessibility of our venues.

Wed 16 Nov, 7.30pm
Post-show panel discussion hosted by Ciaran Thapar (£5*)
Join youth worker, author and executive research consultant, Ciaran Thapar, as he hosts a panel discussion about the development and themes of HighRise Entertainment's 'The UK Drill Project'.


Presented and co-produced by the Barbican

Image credit: Tristan Bejawn


‘An articulate, amusing and angry political rant through the medium of Grime.‘
‘a symbolic validation of drill as an expressive art form, worthy of a central London stage‘
The Guardian


A man wearing a face covering holds white flowers in front of a block of flats. Three men stand in a group behind him.

Listen: UK Drill essentials playlist

Dive into this Spotify playlist charting some UK Drill essential tracks curated by Dominic Garfield, director of The UK Drill Project. Featuring 22 songs from artists including Abra Cadabra, Headie One, Digga D and many more.

Relaxed performances

The performance on Wed 9 Nov, 7.45pm will be Relaxed. A Relaxed performance is ideal for those who would benefit from a more informal approach to noise and movement in the auditorium, or would feel more at ease knowing they could enter and exit freely. 

Please note that this performance has not been sensory adapted and will include loud music and lighting effects. Further information can be provided on request.

For this production:

  • The house will be opened early to allow you more time to find your seats.
  • A member of the Front of House team will lead a pre-show welcome talk.
  • The Front of House team are briefed on providing an more informal service and relaxing the standards in regard to audience behaviour during the performance.
  • Latecomer and re-admittance points will be relaxed to allow people to leave and re-enter the auditorium more freely. 
  • Auditorium doors will be kept open during the performance to assist you in entering and exiting the theatre during the performance.
  • Some seats are kept off-sale so you can move around during the performance more freely (within reason and managed by the Front of House team).
  • The performers are briefed about Relaxed performances, and know that you may need to move around and make noise.
  • A quiet chill out space is provided with comfortable seating.

To request further information regarding sensory triggers in the show or if there is anything else you would like to discuss further before making a booking please get in touch with us. Contact the Theatre team at [email protected].

Take a look at our Accessible Events page to find out more about the accessibility of our venues.

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