Mat Fraser is a disabled actor, writer, and musician, who’s been in American Horror Story: Freak Show, His Dark Materials, Silent Witness, and played Richard III on stage in 2017. His writing has been sometimes awarded, and recently, published.
His solo show “Cabinet of Curiosities: How Disability Was Kept in a Box”, won the UK’s Observer Ethical Award for Arts & Entertainment 2014, and he wrote the ONEOFUS production of “Jack & The Beanstalk”, for which the New York Times awarded him and his director/performer wife Julie Atlas Muz “New Yorkers of the Year” 2018.
Mat was thrilled when BBC Arts commissioned him to curate the series of monologues around Disability, “CripTales”, for BBC 4 & BBC America, also writing & acting in one of the pieces,“Audition.” Mat believes that authentic disabled voices and faces are vital in liberating narrative and portrayal of disability, and mainstream life in Society.
Mat is currently working with a TV company on an anthology of 30 min dramas around disability, written by and starring disabled people. He’s also practising his triplet and quadruplet rolls hard, for that ever-elusive drumming gig.
Age (in years)
Where do you live?
On the China Walk Estate, Lambeth Walk, OI! London
What do you do?
Writer, actor, and occasional these days only, musician
Tell us what it’s like to be your age?
Quintupsensually OK, good for knowledge, knowing myself, knowing answers, knowing what to say and do in most circumstances, hard for losing my fitness and superb body, harder work needed to maintain, harder to be relegated to irrelevant by the young without becoming hateful toward them, weird to know you’ve lived more than half your life now… I’ve always totally ignored many of Society’s stupid rules and acting my age is one of them, I just act the age I feel, and I’m still having a ball. Speaking of balls, yes they hang lower but oh boy do I get pleasure from them. Luckily no lumps yet.
What do you have now that you didn’t have at 25?
Knowledge. Money. Dwelling. Experience, marriage & thus consolidated partner happiness, pensions in my sights, an inability to suffer fools gladly, intolerance, a knee replacement, white pubes, scars, gut, a hernia mesh, regrets, resistance bands, a mobile phone, a computer, a shitty Wi-Fi deal with Virgin, an electric toothbrush, arthritis, people skills.
What about sex?
Yes, can’t go hard at it for quite as long as I used to, but still, have lots of great sex….1st lockdown we made a home porno for fun…an urgent sexual response to the weird feelings, but then it dissipated..luckily it has returned for a decent regular sex life, offscreen.
Long term, loving, happy. THE BEST thing about growing older is the amount of time you’ve known your friends, and how much more meaningful those friendships become with time….being a friend online to people alone, important, parents included…
How free do you feel?
Free to be me, unfettered by mainstream opinions, State propaganda, but I’m stiff and in arthritic pain now too so less free in my body.
What are you proud of?
CripTales, my body, helping other disabled people get work, taking care of my Mum, my black belt when I was 38, my disability and lived experience giving me insight into what others miss, Jeremy Corbyn, BLM, #metoo…
What keeps you inspired?
My continued need for ever-elusive righteous justice and equality for disabled people.
When are you happiest?
When I’ve just written “The End”
And where does your creativity go?
What’s your philosophy of living?
Try to be kind, question everything you are told, stay fit, enjoy life, fuck the system but cleverly so no one notices, be an agent provocateur at all times creatively, do unto others etc.
Yeah well, it’s gonna happen, but I’m trying to put it off.
Are you still dreaming?
Yes, of greater achievements, love, and care, a better Society, a Democratic Socialist Government, an Oscar, growing into a really old age with Julie by my side.
What was a recent outrageous action of yours?
Bottomless Zooms, commissioning 7 disabled writers, scoring £300 worth of weed because of lockdown.