The Elephant Man Joseph Merrick is ‘The Elephant Man'

The Elephant Man

Bristol Old Vic

Key Information
  • Dates Tue 26 Jun 2018 - Sat 07 Jul 2018
  • Location Bristol Old Vic
  • Evening Times


  • Matinees


  • Tickets


Buy Tickets

Sometimes I think my head is so big because it is so full of dreams.

Joseph Merrick is ‘The Elephant Man’.

The sordid spectacle of a travelling freak show, he moves from city to city, mercilessly put on display to the horrified delight of Victorian audiences. A London surgeon also takes a keen interest, but is soon faced with a moral dilemma – to help Merrick or to use him to advance his scientific career?

Inspired by the extraordinary life of a man with a facial disfigurement, Bernard Pomerance’s multi-award-winning play explores changes in perception. Merrick’s story was also recognised in David Lynch’s film starring John Hurt.

Our ongoing partnership with Bristol Old Vic is further developed into a three-way collaboration with its new Associate Company, Diverse City, which is committed to diversity and equality in the arts. Its Co-Artistic Director Jamie Beddard (Messiah) will star in this ambitious new production, Directed by Lee Lyford (The Snow Queen).

By Bernard Pomerance  |  Directed by Lee Lyford




Production photos by Mark Douet

  • The Elephant Man has been an excellent vehicle for our Production and Technical students. The Stage Management team has not only had to source period props and furniture circa 1870s, but has also had to make newspapers and letters printed on cloth and made curtains galore! The Assistant Stage Managers and crew have had to manipulate, rotate and puppet a small shipping crate weighing no less than 2 tonnes around a small acting area and in costume to boot! 2 students have created, operated and update daily surtitles for the entire show – that’s in excess of 300 cues per performance – and the lighting and sound operators are executing no less than 200 cues between them (including the live mixing of a cello) being beautifully delivered by FdA graduate DSM Katherine Coles. The Costume team have made/found/ fitted and maintained no less than 30 beautiful costumes. We are so proud of our student team on this production – every one of them executing their responsibilities like professionals with fun and enthusiasm. Their achievements and commitment on this uniquely accessible run of performances has been truly outstanding.”


    Ruth Sidery - Stage Management Tutor

  • The Elephant Man has been a great experience both personally and professionally. Collaborating with industry professionals has given me the tools and the confidence to head read out into employment.”



    Katherine Coles - Deputy Stage Manager
I’m constantly delighted by the talent, commitment and drive of our students. Their curiosity and joy in the work gives us all energy and keeps me on my toes! My goal is to ensure that their voices serve their acting - both in theatre and recorded media. They need to be able to project, learn accents, respond to a wide variety of texts and have a voice that is healthy and be able to sustain long tours and tough filming schedules. This involves them working extremely hard – but having fun as well. When the new students see the final year students in production for the first time I know they’ll come into class the next day fully understanding the high standard they’re working to achieve. Carol Fairlamb, Head of Voice