Known for tackling difficult topics with grace, wit, and tact, Nicole Henriksen’s new work ‘A Robot In Human Skin’ is a fresh, personal, and heartfelt look at mental health and the ways we treat and understand it.
Ahead of her performance at The Marlborough on the 11th & 12th May, we caught up with Nicole to find out more about what we can expect.
Book tickets here
Why did you decide to perform your show at the Brighton Fringe?
I came to Brighton Fringe for the first time last year, and performed at the Marlborough. The experience was wonderful from the venue management to the post-show discussions with audience members. I wanted to have another chance to experience that atmosphere.
What makes your show different?
A Robot In Human Skin is different because it’s a show about mental health by someone who is mentally ill. It’s genuine and uplifting, while also being very honest about the fact that for many people, myself included, mental illness is a chronic condition. It’s something we need to manage everyday. And finding positive, long-term management tools, allows a clarity that feels like we can take on the whole world, finally.
The show is different, because it’s frank and beautiful in a way only a show about mental illness by someone who manages their mental illness everyday can be.
Who would enjoy seeing your show?
So far, the show has been a wonderful experience for obviously people who also manage their mental illnesses, but also people who live with other invisible illnesses, and their loved ones. It’s also been well-received by those who have little to no knowledge of these illnesses, and is able to serve as a point of understanding and a beginning of a conversation they’ve been hoping to start. General theatre-goers have also enjoyed the show’s playfulness and alternative style. It’s a lose and free show, which adds to it’s charm and reliability.
What has been the best advice you have been given?
Any advice anyone gives you is to be like them. If you don’t want to be like them, don’t take their advice.
What does your work aim to address?
A Robot In Human Skin aims to help break down some of the stigma and silence around mental illness in a human and approachable fashion. It aims to spark conversation, raise awareness, and lead to a better understanding of mental illness and the importance of mental health and self care.
Who are your biggest influences?
I don’t have any theatre influences, I’m usually inspired or influenced by other forms of art that filters into my process. I love the visual art of Frida Khalo and Vincent van Gogh, I’m invigorated by 80s and 90s pop and club music, I’m sparked by well-written TV comedies. It’s more a feeling that drives a new work of mine. The first thing I think about is how I hope the audience will feel when they leave the venue after my show, and I go from there.
What’s going to surprise people about this show?
I don’t know if this counts, but the fact that a show about mental illness, self-harm, and suicide can also be uplifting and pushing forward, could be a big surprise for some, but I’ve already ruined it.
When did you first perform?
In terms of any kind of performance, I was probably about eight-years-old, in the 90’s old dancing in a local dance recital. But in terms of performing as a solo performer, I first performed stand up comedy in July of 2011, and I performed by first (solo) theatre show in January of 2016.
What else are you excited about getting up to in Brighton?
I really enjoyed just walking around Brighton and soaking up the atmosphere of the city. So, I’ll enjoy taking a few moments to just enjoy the voice of the city in all it’s glory.