Subtlemob 10th Anniversary


As If It Were The Last Time

Bristol 11th Dec / London 18th Dec

In the winter of 2009 the first subtlemob ‘As If It Were The Last Time’ took place.
This December it’s being restaged in Bristol and London, and we’re not changing anything.
( we’re even going to use the original 10 year old audio files )
Further down there’s a little explanation of what a subtlemob is and why now seemed like a good time to do it.

What is a subtlemob?

A subtlemob is not a flashmob, it integrates with the everyday world, so only its participants are really aware of it. There is no meeting point, only an area of the city to explore, you'll be unsure of who is and isn't taking part. It’s like walking through a film, it's experienced on headphones, but is performed by you and hundreds of strangers. Armed with only a sound file it takes you on a cinematic experience through the beauty of the everyday. A mixture of narrative, instructions and richly textured music fills your ears. Different sound files are distributed to different audience groups, so while some perform simple actions, the others hear stories about these actions, so that everywhere they look the stories come alive in the world around them. The roles swap back and forth, sometimes you’ll just be watching, sometimes you’ll be following instructions.
There’s nothing embarrassing or dangerous, you’re almost just playing yourself.

There is no venue, there are no ushers or staff, this performance is really just staged and owned by you.
This is no requiem, this is a celebration, a chance to savour the world you live in, and to see it with fresh eyes. . . .
try to remain invisible

Why Now?

When I wrote ‘As If It Were The Last Time’ in 2009, it was a direct response to the country I saw around me, and the things that worried me. I wanted it to be an opportunity to care, to pay attention to what we really valued, to what was around us, and to the people we shared our streets with. Smartphones were beginning to dominate the landscape, and I felt the benefits of remote digital connection risked increasing our disconnection with each other and our surroundings. There seemed to be an increasing wave of intolerance and narrow nationalism, the BNP won their first ever seats in a national election and Nick Griffin became a member of the European Parliament. We were still in the fallout of the global financial crisis and scared of swine flu. Unemployment in the UK was at its highest for a decade and with mouths gaping we read lists of MPs expenses claims.

It’s now 2019, and it might be said that our country is more divided and disconnected than ever. When I read the script it feels like I could have written some of it last week.
These two re-stagings will happen before and after the election on the 12th December, so maybe it’s a good time to take stock, to care, and to be open to each other.

- Duncan Speakman, Nov 2019
Here’s what some people said after experiencing it in 2009 and 2010.


  • for Paul Walker ( 1979 – 2009 )

  • Written by Duncan Speakman

  • Music by Sarah Anderson & Duncan Speakman

  • Voices : Jess Marlowe, Jess Hoffman

  • Additional musicians : Leo Smee , Laura Groves

  • Devised with : Gemma Paintin, James Stenhouse, Uninvited Guests, Ed Rapley, Lucy Cassidy, Alex Bradley, Sita Calvert Ennals, Becky Hall, Tom Wainwright

  • Developed at Pervasive Media Studio, Bristol

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