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About us

Ridiculusmus is a multi-award winning theatre company that has been producing seriously funny theatre for over 20 years.

“I swear, you’ll have never seen anything quite like it”  The Independent

The company’s co-artistic directors, David Woods and Jon Haynes, have established the company as a flagship UK performance group touring nationally and internationally with works passionately wrought from minimal resources that achieve the oxymoronic aim of being both serious and funny.

“One of our most refreshingly provocative theatre companies” The Guardian

The company has created over 25 original theatre productions and is regularly commissioned by venues including the Barbican, National Theatre, Royal Court, Soho Theatre, BAC and Arts House, Melbourne.

“They are without doubt, two of the most innovative talents working in British theatre” British Theatre Guide.


Total Theatre Significant Achievement Award

Peter Brook Open Space Award

Time Out Live Award

Total Theatre Award for Best British Production

Herald Angel Award for Innovation

The Team

Jon Haynes

Artistic Director

David Woods

Artistic Director

Cheryl Pierce

Executive Producer

Rob Young

Special Projects Producer

Board Members
Paul Allain
Peter Greig
Richard Young




Support us

Photo (c) Mike Urban. urban75.com

Battersea Arts Centre has been our home for many years, both as an office and a performance space. Earlier this year, it was tragically ravaged by fire. As a company, we are now in exile while our home is being rebuilt. During this challenging time, we welcome all the support we can get. If you would like to give a donation, no matter how small, it would be greatly appreciated.

If you would like to help, please call Cheryl on +44 (0) 7713 286 310

Email: cheryl@ridiculusmus.com

Or send a donation via the button below….

Make a donation using Virgin Money Giving

Many thanks for your support.

  We are grateful to the photographer, Mike Urban, who kindly donated this very striking image of our building on fire. http://www.urban75.org/blog/major-fire-breaks-out-at-battersea-arts-centre-photos-capture-tower-collapse/


We work with a huge range of partners – from The Barbican Centre in London  to Arts Council England and Sydney Festival, universities and world-renowned Finnish psychotherapists, plus a pantheon of talented artists, technicians and creators. We are very grateful to  those who have invested in our work in various ways over the years and continue to support us, including:

Arts Council EnglandNational Theatre ScotlandNational Theatre WalesBarbican CentreTotal TheatreWellcome TrustBattersea Arts CentreUniversity of Kent


Contact us

There are many ways to contact Ridiculusmus:


+44 (0) 7713 286310

Ridiculusmus, BAC, Lavender Hill, London, SW11 5TN

Social media:


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In a kitchen, somewhere in West Wales, a war veteran called Zach has withdrawn into a cardboard box. A friend arrives offering recovery in the form of dialogue and a capsule containing 3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine. Ieuan claims to have successfully treated his own PTSD with psychedelic drugs. What follows soars into a psychoactive dream of delirium, trauma and supermarket shopping as the two men are parachuted into their own fractured pasts; their symptoms expressing the pathologies of a disturbed world.

Give Me Your Love will premiere at Arts House, Melbourne from 18th to 22nd November 2015, followed by a three-week run at BAC, London then a national tour.


New Show for 2015

Give Me Your Love

In a kitchen, somewhere in West Wales, a war veteran called Zach has withdrawn into a cardboard box. A friend arrives offering recovery in the form of dialogue and a capsule containing 3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine. Ieuan claims to have successfully treated his own PTSD with psychedelic drugs. What follows soars into a psychoactive dream of delirium, trauma and supermarket shopping as the two men are parachuted into their own fractured pasts; their symptoms expressing the pathologies of a disturbed world.

Give Me Your Love will premiere at Arts House, Melbourne from 18th to 22nd November 2015.

Give Me Your Love


Battersea Arts Centre Fire: Ridiculusmus’ Home

Photo (c) Mike Urban, urban75.com

As an Associate Company of Battersea Arts Centre we watched in shock as the fire took hold of the Grand Hall. Battersea Arts Centre has been our home for many years, as a centre of our work, containing our offices and offering our London audiences access to our work. Today we stand side by side our colleagues and friends in this difficult time. As we watch the plans unfolding day-by-day in the aftermath of the fire we are reminded how resilient, creative and passionate our colleagues at Battersea Arts Centre are. They will rise again, and we’ll be here to support them building the Grand Hall again.

We can not urge you enough to support Battersea Arts Centre via the dedicated donation page and also donating to our friends Gecko who lost their set during the fire with their Kickstarter campaign.

We’re also relieved to see our friend Pluto the Cat has returned safe.

http://www.urban75.org/blog/major-fire-breaks-out-at-battersea-arts-centre-photos-capture-tower-collapse/ The Ridiculusmus Team @_Ridiculusmus_  


Edinburgh Fringe Street Team

The Ridiculusmus team have landed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with our first show The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland at Summerhall (we’ve got The World Mouse Plague from the 13th August). We’re now on the hunt for some enthusiastic and committed street team members to help spread the word about the show through flyering and talking to potential audience members. We’re looking for two people to work with the Ridiculusmus team to flyer and spread the word for 2 hours per day (alternating days) during the Fringe. The flyering slot will be between 1pm and 3pm. We’ll pay £8/hour and you’ll have the chance to see Summerhall shows with a free pass. If you’re interested please email your CV and a few lines to why you would be suited to this role to jakeorr@ridiculusmus.com


On Taking a Show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

We’ve asked our co-artistic directors, David Woods and Jon Haynes, to share their thoughts on the impending return of Ridiculusmus to the Edinburgh Fringe after a number of years of being absent. Honest, funny and with wit, the Ridiculusmus team will be at Summerhall this year with The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland and The World Mouse Plague (the latter a world premier). The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland David says… Edinburgh generates a turbulent set of feelings in my guts – excitement, trepidation, anxiety and determination. This is our xth visit and having had successful and unsuccessful visits in the past the build up is informed by the knowledge of these previous experiences. I include visits I made as a student with and without shows. Its great to be in stuff or connected to it, lonely and expensive if not. And the more going on the more options we have if something bombs. It took years to recover from our last visit where all eggs were in one progressive basket in the wrong venue and category. Bombing on all fronts would be a spectacularly depressing scenario. I hope to be able to concentrate on the work but even months in advance feel the omnipresence of other work – work that is raved about already, will no doubt attract huge audiences and critical acclaim and seem to have endless resources of marketing that will drown our miniscule efforts. The budget is tight, the accommodation is tight and we cling on to this thread of hope that enough people will discover the work to make this expensive loss leading effort and indeed our next few years viable. The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland Jon says: Although I’ve never done Edinburgh on drugs (I did a pantomime at university under the influence of nutmeg), the prospect of being part of the largest performing arts festival in the world, which last year boasted a record-breaking 2,695 different shows staging 42,096 performances in 279 venues by 22,457 performers from over 47 countries, sorely tempts me. On previous visits I’ve become a recluse, emerging only to do the show, refusing to see anybody else’s work or read any of the never-ending shit about it. This time I’ll probably do the same. I can’t afford to see things anyway (though I’ve been given a ticket for the Oedipus story staged as mytho-poetic post show discussion by an ensemble of Iranian refugees with learning difficulties – 5 stars on thebeyourowncriticblog). There’s also the fact that I’m going to be very busy working on the two shows I am in. ‘The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland’ is a play concerned with therapy that is itself in therapy. We can’t seem to leave it alone and no treatment we’ve applied so far has been completely successful. We’re throwing various treatment methods at it, particularly Open Dialogue, an approach to life that, if embraced, is actually an enormous psychological relief. It’s just occurred to me that Edinburgh itself could well do with a series of Open Dialogue sessions, and I’ve now decided that this will be my mission. If anyone approaches me with a flyer for their show or begins to act out a piece of self-publicising street theatre in front of me I’ll respond to their every utterance, invite them to tolerate uncertainty and repeat their outpourings back to them word for word, so that we can find a shared language and then wait patiently for a solution to the stress of being part of a multi-million pound trade fair to emerge. The worst response, as the Russian philosopher Bakhtin so perceptively observed, is no response, yet this is the prospect facing half a million wannabes throwing their life savings at an event to which hardly anyone will come in a church hall where they are squeezed between other wannabes doing exactly the same. No response, no critics, no reviews (not even on blogs by twats), no audience, no money, no future. Forget about artistic fulfillment. If all this sounds rather negative then I’m sorry. Let’s try to brighten it up a bit. Well, on the plus side I’m looking forward to doing some acting, but on the downside I know from experience that very few people will like it. Back on the plus side that doesn’t bother me too much. I didn’t get where I am today (and where is that?) being deterred by critics who describe my acting as ‘perfunctory’ or say the stage seems fuller when I leave it. It’s what I enjoy doing and it doesn’t matter what people think. Perhaps this is what Edinburgh will be for us: a kind of message to people, a statement that we’re still around and doing our stuff after twenty-three years and we’re not going to yield to fashion or wait to see if we’ll be part of it again. We are ourselves and not one angstrom otherwise. We’re messy and chaotic. We don’t write blogs about our work attracting more attention than the work itself. We just do the work itself and keep on doing it and even if they cut our funding or don’t programme us we’ll do it (but fucking how?). That’s all I want to say for the time being. I feel a rant coming on, you see, and I think it’s better that I stop it.


Arts Council England funding decision

Ridiculusmus are saddened to learn the news that we will no longer be one of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisations. Having been regularly funding for the last ten years, we are now beginning a dialogue with ACE regarding a Grant for the Arts application that will allow us to deliver our planned projects. These include the Wellcome Trust supported mainhouse works through which we’ll continue our investigation into Mental Health: THE IDIOT AT WAR, examining identity through the lens of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and BILL & AGNES, Part 3 of our mental health trilogy focusing on ageing & dementia and celebrating elderly people. As a company we have been making seriously funny theatre for the last 22 years and, whilst disheartened, we will continue to be “one of [the] most refreshingly provocative theatre companies”. Team Ridiculusmus


Our characters in a treatment meeting

t4K2fNTGUsjI2gA5hNkuPLU6-AR1swUe85-YAPuB620,TiFQ-OGBXZPjUTapoNm6XA4UO1VY_6PyOOOlsdE-egY A new video of some of our characters from The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland taking part in an improvised Open Dialogue treatment meeting with Jaakko Seikkulla, Markku Sutela and Peter Rober at the Dialogic conference in Hameenlinna. Watch the video below:


Ridiculusmus return to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

We’re excited to let you know that we’ll be returning to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year with two pieces of work. The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland which has already been on tour and the world premier of our new show The World Mouse Plague. Both shows will be performing at Summerhall, further information and booking details below. The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland 1-24 August, Summerhall 11:50 (70 mins) No performances on 8, 9, 10, 18. ✮✮✮✮ “A startling piece of work” The Guardian  The first of a trilogy of work to be developed over the next 5 years focusing on mental health, The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland is an investigation of auditory hallucination through the lens of one family’s experience of psychoses. The audience is immersed in this recreation through an ambitious split staging arrangement: the action and dialogue from two different sequences of scenes are simultaneously performed to two different groups of audience in the same space. Book online via the Summerhall website The World Mouse Plague 13-17 August, Summerhall 21:30 (60 mins) An allegory of ‘the final solution’ The World Mouse Plague features a man and mice battling for supremacy of a domestic environment that anthropomorphises the descent of man from cohabiting hunter-gatherer to genocidal maniac. Using hate propaganda from Rwandan genocide, contemporary pest control information, natural history encyclopadias, and government immigration policies offering a funny but acute look at man’s supremacy. Book online via the Summerhall website We look forward to welcoming the Fringe audiences to our shows and to join in the festival activities ourselves. Edinburgh, watch out, we’re coming to get you.


Some more things that may have contributed to the making of The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland

Watching the 1967 Frederick Wiseman documentary ‘Titicut Follies’ Unknown-3 Reading ‘What is Madness?’ by Darian Leader and ‘The Myth of Mental Illness’ by Thomas Szasz Being mesmerized by the Roy Anderson films ‘You the Living’ and ‘Songs from the Second Floor’ Watching ‘The Bothersome Man’ for the third time, saying it’s for research purposes, although it wasn’t really Reading Auden’s Christmas Oratorio while trying to write a Chorus for ‘The Eradication’ Watching a documentary about Brian Blackwell, who had narcissistic personality disorder, killed his parents and then took his girlfriend on an expensive holiday to the States, fantasizing that he was a professional tennis player Downloading the Finnish saga ‘The Story of Burnt Njal’ with a view to plagiarizing it for our Chorus Revisiting Anouilh’s ‘Antigone,’ in which I played the messenger at university. ‘The queen! The queen! Where is the queen?’ Seeing Alan Ayckbourn’s ‘The Norman Conquests’ in Liverpool because a character’s exit from one play corresponds with an entrance in another and this is something we would like to try Meeting Ben Sessa, psychiatrist and author of The Psychedelic Renaissance, and hearing him talk passionately about the therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs Visiting systemic family therapists in the Tavistock Centre who tell us about a man called Jaakko Seikkula who’s developed a dialogic approach to treating psychosis – Open Dialogue – in Western Lapland Driving to Western Lapland with David Woods Stopping on the motorway to take some photos, marveling at the special quality of the light and getting covered in mosquitoes Searching for Keropoudas Hospital, where Open Dialogue began Meeting a drunk man in a Tornio pub and finding out he’d been in Keropoudas Hospital Wondering if an apparently deranged man in the street in Tornio is pissing or masturbating or both Being welcomed by Timo Haaraniemi at Keropoudas Hospital and taking part in an impromptu simulated Open Dialogue session Attending a Dialogic Practices conference in Hameenlinna and being over-awed by Jaakko Seikkula, Peter Rober, Professor John Shotter, Markku Sutela and just about everyone there Tolerating uncertainty Witnessing Jaakko Seikkula and colleagues disco dancing on the last night of the conference in Hameenlinna   Jon


Some things that may have contributed to the making of ‘The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland’

by Jon Haynes Reading R. D. Laing as an ontologically insecure undergraduate and finding the idea of madness quite attractive Flicking through The DSM IV and noticing I’ve got most of the disorders A psychiatrist asking me if I agree that I’m a danger to myself and others and when I say ‘No’ telling me ‘In that case I’ve no option but to detain you under Section 3 of the Mental Health Act’ Spending 6 months in the Maudsley Hospital and finding madness wasn’t so attractive after all Having my clothes taken away from me and being accompanied to the toilet every time I wanted to go Being told that I wanted to get out but I didn’t want to get better Agreeing, for a fee of ten pounds, to be the subject of a psychiatric presentation Imagining it would be a bit like appearing on the Parkinson show Discovering it entailed sitting on stage, answering questions from an audience of psychiatrists and breaking down in tears Listening every morning to someone chanting from the ward below ‘Help me someone I’m dying’ Being ashamed to have a mental illness and not wanting anyone to know My family trying to understand Seeing a Pelican book on my condition on the bookshelves at home Being told that I sometimes seemed quite normal The book stating ‘It’s all about a desire for control.’ This wasn’t my experience. I felt out of control, actually possessed Living near a mental hospital in Shrewsbury when I was a boy and ending up in it in my twenties A nurse in hospital taking my temperature every 30 minutes and saying to me ‘I don’t know if this is what you want but if you carry on like this you’ll very soon be dead’ and my thinking ‘Good’ A patient called Roy Christy telling me how John Fowles the novelist stole his first wife from him on a Greek island. I was never sure if this was true, but years later I picked up a copy of Fowles’s Journals and discovered that it was A man in the Maudsley sitting next to me and telling me he was Jesus and I was John the Baptist A bearded lady in the Maudsley asking me if I thought she should kill herself or just put up with it Seeing a night nurse throw a patient against a wall, reporting it to the hospital board, nothing being done and wondering if I’d imagined it A nurse supervising the eating disorder patients’ mealtimes while slowly consuming a pot of very low fat cottage cheese A manic patient called Liz who I found attractive and who told me I was an angel As I got better beginning to fancy some of the patients, particularly a thickset suicidal boy called Darren My psychologist telling me that she’d seen me looking longingly at a patient called Douglas who’d been experiencing hallucinations. It wasn’t true Going to the ward round. The consultant asking me how I felt and my saying ‘I am terrified about my imminent confrontation with the outside world’ and him saying ‘That’s a very philosophical statement. What exactly do you mean by it?’ After the ward round the nurse who had escorted me there saying to me ‘You did very well. What a wonderful opportunity for an actor’ Being allowed home for a weekend, scoring some dope at the Prince John in Peckham and walking out straight into the arms of the Metropolitan Police Being taken to the police station and locked in a detention room. Explaining I was a mental patient and being let off Making friends with a schizophrenic who told me he taught the Foreign Secretary’s children to play the cello. Coming out of hospital and someone saying to me on the phone ‘What are you going to do? You have to do something, you know’

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