Preview: Grey Matters

Ifeyinwar Frederick and Josh Simons 11 February 2014

Fifteen interviews, one year and a few tears later, we are two weeks away from the opening night of Grey Matters. Our aim is simple: to use performance to bring mental illness to the forefront of our audiences’ minds in an unusual and entertaining way. Grey Matters is a piece of immersive theatre, which does away with rows of seats and puts you, the audience, at the center of the action. If you come, which you should, you will be up close with our actors, in the middle of the set and entering the world of the theatre group we have created – Grey Matters.

You’ll meet Beth, following her as she gains access to a late-night Grey Matters performance where the group tell their story. Old-hand Leo will explain that the group, whilst being a talented troupe of performers, have something else in common: all have suffered from various mental illnesses. Stripped of their costumes and makeup, Grey Matters will tell you their story in an intimate, run down old theatre.

The whole project is based on interviews we conducted last year, which are woven into the plot using a variety of mediums. Ifeyinwa Frederick explains where her desire to begin the project came from, “It stemmed from my frustration over the fact that a significant number of people I knew at Cambridge had suffered from or were experiencing a mental health problem and yet mental health, whether good or bad, is rarely given the attention it deserves in the university. I wanted to put on a play to break the silence.”

Josh Simons explains why immersive theatre was chosen, "I wanted to produce a piece of theatre that tried to convey all the nuances of mental health, without simply creating a play about mental health. This is why we chose immersive theatre. It's a form that allows the audience to be taken on a journey, with all the confusions and complexities that come with understanding mental health."

Showing 7pm, 7.50 and 8.40pm, 22nd – 24th Feb – Chetwynd Room, King’s College