Martin O’Brien: An Ambulance to the Future

Fri 6 Sep, 8.30pm
Part of Unlimited
Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall
Performance & dance
From £10
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A shirtless person with green liquid all over their face and down their chest. Behind them is anther person wearing black and brick walls.
Zack Mennell

In this humorous and haunting performance mixing video, live performance action and parables, Death pays a man for sex. The price is immortality.

An Ambulance to the Future (The Second Chance) paints the picture of life lived over and over again; a life that doesn’t need water or oxygen; a life without the promise of an endpoint. It is a meditation on endings and new beginnings.

With his usual intensity and humour, this work continues Martin O’Brien’s explorations of the politics of death by asking what the idea of immortality can help us understand about being mortal.

Martin O’Brien is an artist and zombie, working across performance, writing and video art. He has cystic fibrosis, and all of his work and writing draws upon this experience, often exploring death and dying, what it means to be born with a life-shortening disease, and the philosophical implications of living longer than expected.

His work has been featured on BBC radio and Sky Arts television. He is currently senior lecturer in Live Art at Queen Mary University of London.

An Ambulance to the Future (The Second Chance) was commissioned by Whitechapel Gallery and supported with public funds by Arts Council England.

Martin O’Brien: lead artist
Baiba Sprance & Marco Beradi: videography
Ash McNaughton: performer (live)
Ali Campbell, Ash McNaughton, Carolyn Naish, Ewan Hindes, Pianka M, Regina Jay & Shabnam Shabazi: performers (film)

Need to know

Age recommendation

For ages 18+

This event is British Sign Language interpreted (BSL).

To book tickets for BSL interpretation, email [email protected] or call us on 020 3879 9555.

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Contains some scenes involving nudity. Contains scenes that some viewers may find disturbing. CW: genital piercing (video), BDSM practices including restricted breathing (live and video), and discussion of death.

Dates & times

Fri 6 Sep, 8.30pm
Approximate run time: 1 hour.
Run times may vary by up to 20 minutes as they can be affected by last-minute programme changes, intervals and encores.


  • Standard entryFrom £10*
  • Concessions25%**

* Excludes £3.50 booking fee.

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** Limited availability. Read about concessions.

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Purcell Room

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An accessible toilet is located in the foyer.

A Changing Places toilet is located on Level 1 Royal Festival Hall next to the JCB Glass Lift, for the exclusive use of disabled people who need personal assistance to use the toilet.

The facility includes a height-adjustable bench, tracking hoist system, a centrally-placed toilet, a height-adjustable basin and a shower. Please visit the Welcome Desk on Level 2, Royal Festival Hall, where a member of staff can provide you with the key. You can also use the phone next to the Changing Places toilet to speak to a member of staff. The facility is open daily 10am – 11pm.


The Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room cloakroom is closed. You won’t be able to bring any bags over 40 x 25 x 25cm into the venues, so please leave large bags at home.

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Purcell Room is located in Queen Elizabeth Hall. For step-free access please use Royal Festival Hall JCB glass lift to Level 2 and enter via Riverside Terrace.

Talk to a member of staff at the auditorium entrance if you have a disability that means you can’t queue, or you need extra time to take your seat. They can arrange priority entry for you as soon as the doors open.

Please bear with us while we update our access map to reflect the refurbishment of the Royal Festival Hall’s Level 2 foyer spaces. The step-free routes remain the same.

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