June’s finally landed her dream job at an advertising agency, but when her first task is to rebrand water, she gets the feeling she might be in over her head….  In her struggle to balance a competitive workplace with mothering her mentally ill brother, June finds herself teetering on the edge. When the physical world of the hospital and her workplace start to blend, she begins to question her own sanity and her position in society.


★★★★ “A dark and vivid nightmare founded on human fragility” – The Argus

Excels at creating an increasing chaos” – Exeunt Magazine

“A psychosis circus full of laughs” – Disability Arts Online

A new avenue in the dialogue between mental health and theatre” – The Metropolist



Playwright and performance poet Karis Halsall (MEGAPOLITAN, Little Stitches) joins forces with ‘All in’ director Stephen Sobal (Love Sick, Treading Water) to bring you the VAULT previews of HYSTERICAL. Set between a frantic advertising agency and an inpatient facility; June, a virgin clown and her associates attempt to rebrand water, wellness and ‘madness’ and Madonna. Co-produced by HOAX (AUS/CAN/UK) and Luminary Theatre (UK) in collaboration with UCL.

Drawing on the creative teams’ experiences and developed in collaboration with academics and clinicians at UCL, Halsall’s new play examines how gender and modern day pressures can militate on our mental health.


Writer/ Karis E. Halsall

Director/ Stephen Sobal

Puppetry Direction/ Mikey Brett, Caroline Bowman & Charlotte Quartermaine (The Rainbow Collectors)

Cast/ Sarah Fraser (June) , Fionnula Kennedy (Mercedes) , Alice Trow (Catherine), Kristin Blakstad (Mary, Nurse Mary, Puppetry), Cameron Harle/ Sam Adamson (Kris, Puppetry), Flavia Bertram (Lion, Puppetry)

Design/ Flavia Bertram & Avninder S. Nanray

Sound Design/ Lawrence Kendrick

Stage Manager/ Cassandra Fumi

Creative Production/ Karis E Halsall,  Ayesha Tansey, Sarah Fraser, Flavia Bertram

CO-PRODUCERS/ Lum-logo-white-background1


3 – 7 February, 2016 @ 7:15pm, Vault Festival, London

14-15 May, 2016 @ 4pm, Brighton Fringe @ The Warren Main Stage

May 18-20, 2016 @ Stories of Being Festival, Platform, Southwark





With academics at University College London, we developed an outreach program alongside the play which included panel discussions and community workshops involving mental health professionals.

“Ever since I left the Hysterical R&D Workshop I have been seeing the world with a new perspective.” – November Workshop Participant