Jamie Beddard in The Elephant Man at Bristol Old Vic

In the rehearsal room: Jamie is in the foreground, a distressed and concerned expression on his face. The actors gathered behind him are reaching forward, pointing at him with stern and serious facial expressions.

Jamie Beddard stars as Joseph Merrick, alongside final year students of Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in The Elephant Man, opening at Bristol Old Vic tonight.

Diverse City is working with the next generation of actors and theatre professionals, as part of our commitment to diversify performing arts training and increase inclusive practice. The Elephant Man is part of the Bristol Old Vic’s 2018 Year of Change programme, which aims to connect with the city of Bristol as a place of entertainment, as well as a place where the most important concerns of the day can be explored, contested, discussed and understood.

Acknowledging the casting of his role, Jamie has written an article for the Guardian, calling for the end of ‘cripping up’ roles;

“My impairment is part of who I am, one of many characteristics. I am as complex, flawed and nuanced as the next man…
“Cripping up” debases and disconnects, because the cloak of impairment – often physical extremes – becomes the driver, while the characteristics that underpin us all, and indeed drama itself, become secondary.”

All performances of The Elephant Man production will be fully captioned, with audio described, BSL and relaxed performances scheduled. Watch the below video to find out more about the creative process of captioning The Elephant Man.

Director Lee Lyford, Bristol Old Vic Theatre school cast and creative team discuss the relevance of the universal themes of The Elephant Man. The cast also discuss behind the scenes, costume, set development and their creative processes.


Tickets on sale now
Show dates: 26th June – 7th July

Tickets £7.50 – £31.50
Visit: bristololdvic.org.uk
Box Office: 0117 987 7877


Red background with white text: Bristol Old VicBristol Old Vic Theatre School (logo)

A Bristol Old Vic, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and Diverse City collaboration.
This amateur production of The Elephant Man is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, LTD.


Photography credits: Alistair Campbell