Date: Fri 13 June - Sat 14 June
Venue: The Yard Theatre
£12, £5 (concessions)
£5/£10 for the preview performances on the 27 & 28 MayBuy tickets »
The Manual Oracle explores the intersection between self-consciousness, theatricality and paranoia within a scenic montage that looks at immigration, xenophobia, surveillance, psychiatric services, corporate scheming and survivalist movements.
This new play is inspired by Baltasar Gracián’s Oráculo manual, a seventeenth-century ‘self-help-book’ that coaches courtiers in self-promotion, social skill and psychological cunning. However, Gracián’s worldly wisdom veils a much more paranoid message: others are only waiting to harm you.
Conceived and directed by Phoebe von Held, it features specially commissioned scenes by writers Natasha Soobramanien and Luke Williams. Sound-design: Jamie Hamilton, Stage-design: Moi Tran, Lighting-design: studio ZNA.
The Manual Oracle script has been developed through collaborative practice with mental health service users, mental health professionals and researchers at the Department of Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, sponsored through a Leverhulme Artists Residency.
Phoebe von Held’s previous work as director, adaptor, translator and designer includes: Rameau’s Nephew  and The Nun  both at Citizens Theatre, Glasgow; and animation works; D’Alembert’s Dialogues, 2005 and Chrysalis  shown at Crossing-Over: Encounters between Art & Biotechnology, Royal Institution, London.
The Visual Arts programme is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
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One of the sharpest, funniest shows I’ve seen about the dilemmas of enlightenment politics
The production is supported with public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and funding from The Maudsley Charity.
Special after-show talk introduced by curator Bárbara Rodríguez Muñoz, with Phoebe von Held, Professor Michael Newman and Dr. Emmanuelle Peters: 5 June 2014.
Image design by Will Brady adapted by from an image by Louis Wain, Kaleidoscope Cats III, courtesy of Bethlem Museum of the Mind