Dirty Work (The Late Shift)

Created 2017

Returning to their 1998 performance Dirty Work, Forced Entertainment have created a new version of the piece that digs deeper into the comical and unsettling territory they established just before the turn of the Millennium.

The new work, Dirty Work (The Late Shift) develops the simple but immensely generative form of described or virtual events and celebrates the power of language to make things happen, co-opting the imaginative capacities of the audience to fill the stage with a delirium of images, scenes and events in bewildering and unnerving succession.

In Dirty Work (The Late Shift) two performers conjure an extraordinary performance in a collaborative and competitive act of description. From vast explosions to sub-atomic particles, with daily life, political interludes, dramas and cabaret turns in between, no event is too large and no image un-stageable for the protagonists, whose game of virtual theatre takes the audience on a roller coaster ride.

From theatrical spectacle to historical events, daily life to impossible feats, cabaret to political speeches, and from sublime beauty to vivid terrors, everything is here, in provocative, intimate and comical style. Accompanied by the sound of piano on a battered record player, Dirty Work (The Late Shift) explores and exposes a world in which real life is so often presented as spectacle.


Conceived and devised by the company

Director Tim Etchells
Performed by Robin Arthur, Cathy Naden and Terry O’Connor
Devised by Robin Arthur, Richard Lowdon, Claire Marshall, Cathy Naden and Terry O’Connor
Text Tim Etchells with Robin Arthur and Cathy Naden
Lighting Design Nigel Edwards
Design Richard Lowdon
Production Management Jim Harrison

Dirty Work (The Late Shift) is a Forced Entertainment production. Co-produced by PACT Zollverein Essen and HAU Hebbel Am Ufer Berlin.