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The Real and Imagined History of The Elephant Man

If you think you know the story of The Elephant Man – think again.

The European premiere of Australian playwright Tom Wright’s acclaimed play imagines an alternative. This is the story of a man fighting for his right to be and to belong.

Arriving from his East Midlands beginnings in a London thick with the grime of industrialisation, Joseph Merrick is an anomaly. In a city of factories that churn out uniformity, there is no place for a unique being like him. But Merrick and the city are evolving into something new. We follow him through the workhouse, the freakshow and hospital as he searches for acceptance in a society that just wants to stare at him.

Powerful, angry and surprising – The Real and Imagined History of the Elephant Man questions industrialisation, capitalism, disability and difference, finally putting Joseph at the centre of his own story.

Director Stephen Bailey is the winner of The RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award 2022. Zak Ford-Williams’ previous work includes Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol (Nottingham Playhouse) and BBC1 drama Better.

Supported with a grant from the Royal Theatrical Support Trust.