Martin O'Brien: The Land of Sickness & Death

Martin O'Brien: The Land of Sickness & Death

22nd May 2019


Somewhere in an old morgue, a single flame burns in an otherwise darkened room. There is one single heart beating in the space, one set of lungs breathing deeply. The room smells and tastes like death.

In a theatre, in Colchester, a sickly prophet preaches about the end of the world. Martin O’Brien has cystic fibrosis and grew up thinking he would die at 30. The end did not come and Martin now considers himself as living in the zombie years. This work is an exploration of mortality, survival and sickness. Martin considers what it means to live longer than expected and to embrace death as a way of life. It is a combination of spoken text, live action and video projection using footage filmed in an abandoned morgue in 2017, during the 30 hours leading up to his 30th birthday. In this performance, he questions around religion, death and the potential for a zombie based apocalyptic scenario.


Martin O’Brien is an artist and zombie. His performance and video art uses physical endurance, long durations, and pain based practices in order to examine what it means to be born with a life shortening disease. Martin has cystic fibrosis and all of his work and writing draws upon this experience. He has developed a cult following and is best known for his long durational solo performances and his collaborations with legendary body artist Sheree Rose. He has performed throughout the UK, Europe, USA, and Canada. In 2018, the book Survival of the Sickest: The Art of Martin O’Brien was published by Live Art Development Agency. He was artist in residence at ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, LA. He is currently lecturer in Drama, Theatre and Performance at Queen Mary University of London. He recently surpassed his life expectancy and is enjoying life as a zombie.

Pay What You Can Afford
Doors open 7.30pm, show starts 8pm
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