York campus features in David Tennant film

Cinema hit ‘Mad To Be Normal’ throws York campus back to its early days

Cinema hit Mad To Be Normal tells the story of controversial Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing and the infamous anti-psychiatry experiment he ran at Kingsley Hall, London – a medication-free sanctuary which made headlines around the world.

Nearly 100 University of York staff and students were cast as extras in the film, wearing 1960s costume, with shots taking place outside Heslington Hall and inside the lecture theatre in the Department of Theatre, Film and Television.

Several students from the Department of Theatre, Film and Television also worked alongside the film crew as runners, in the wardrobe department, and in technical production as part of a green screen shoot in one of the Department’s TV studios.

Mad To Be Normal student extras, pictured alongside University of York Vice-Chancellor Professor Koen Lamberts

Mad To Be Normal tells the story of hippy psychiatrist RD Laing and his PhD student girlfriend, Angie Wood, played by Elisabeth Moss. Laing ran Kingsley Hall, which swapped padded cells for LSD and group therapy to treat its mentally ill patients to inconsistent effect.

Alice Mannix, Content and Communications Manager at York who starred as an extra in the film, said: “It was great to see everyone in their retro costumes, including David Tennant’s fetching velvet suit. There was a real buzz as we all filed into the Theatre,

“There was a real buzz as we all filed into the Theatre, Film and Television lecture theatre to watch his spellbinding monologue, and I got the feeling I wasn’t the only one who didn’t have to act when we were asked to respond with rapturous applause.

“Despite the 8am start, it was a really fun day and I can’t wait to see the University on the big screen!”