Preview: MAD(E), MAST Mayflower Studios, Southampton

Preview: MAD(E), MAST Mayflower Studios, Southampton

An epic story of life, death, and everything in between, Mandala Theatre are bringing MAD(E) to MAST Mayflower Studios from 1 to 2 February 2023.

A tale of three boys existing within hostile environments, this hard-hitting production explores the individual journeys as each attempts to heal their broken minds with the help of a mythical shape shifter.

Carrying their worlds in an urn, a bivvy bag, and soil from the Motherland, Mandala Theatre Company depicts three stories from different cultures, played by Max McMillan Ngwenya, Nelvin Kiratu and Lex Stephenson, all living lives dodging a system that engulfs and traumatises them.

When they are confronted with Beira – a mythical female shape shifter portrayed by Clarisse Zamba – the play delves into the intricacies of their mental trauma and ways of dealing with wounds that make post-trauma growth possible.

Developed with input from boys and young men from around the country, MAD(E) utilises physical theatre, comic chorus and poetry, in a passionate, exhilarating and uniquely theatrical commentary on masculinity and young men’s mental health.

We are all made – not mad.

Written by Sean Burn and directed by Yasmin Sidhwa, this production has been co-created with boys and young men nationally through investigative workshops, delicately drawing from their lived experiences of mental distress.

MAD(E) explores wounded communities where there is the need for reconciliation and restorative justice, examining themes of apology and restoration.

“It is a serious crisis,” says director, Yasmin Sidhwa. “Young people with special educational needs or mental health issues, or ethnically diverse backgrounds or low-income backgrounds are especially vulnerable.

“Yet their voices are never heard. This play gives them a voice.

“We hope MAD(E) will move people and inspire them to ask why it is that in 2022 suicide rates for 15–19-year olds are the highest they have been in 30 years.

“They are statistics which tell us that something must be done.”

Writer, Sean Burn, adds: “The idea of the play is the word made, not mad – it’s life, it’s stuff, events, it’s wounds, it’s trauma, poverty, it might be violence.

“Rather than putting up barriers, it’s finding connection. I think if lads cried more, everyone would be healthier.”

All productions are followed by local panel debates or Q&As, offering creative workshops to local young people’s organisations, schools, and colleges.

Tickets for MAD(E) (1-2 February) are on sale at or 02380 711811.

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