Bristol Old Vic Bristol Old Vic

Bristol Old Vic

King Street, Bristol, BS1 4ED, United Kingdom | 0117 987 7877 | Website



The Elephant Man - fabulous production and best accessible theatre experience ever


Visit date:

This review is especially helpful for those who have or use the following: Walking Aid


Beautiful Georgian (1700s) theatre with a main theatre seating about 500 people, so relatively small and intimate. It stages a number of different productions each year, which are on for a limited run of a week or two or sometimes one night only. At the time of writing review is in the middle of a re-development which will provide better access.

Transport & Parking


I travelled by public transport. From Bristol Meads train station I got a bus (70 or 73) outside the station which took me to The Centre" an area with a number of bus stops, and from there it was about a 3 minute walk to theatre.



Excellent, the theatre is proactive in encouraging access for all. There's detailed access information on their website. I phoned up to book my ticket and the box office were very helpful in suggesting a suitable seat for my needs. A couple of days before I received an email reminding me of my upcoming visit. The first thing it mentioned was access. As re-development work is going on there is a temporary entrance at the Stage Door. There was a sign which clearly indicated where the accessible entrance was. There was a button to press for admission but the door wasn't locked and I just needed to open it. I was able to use the Stage Door lift which is huge and from that access the accessible toilet, bar and dress circle. The box office had a counter both at wheelchair height and standing height. The bar had an eclectic assortment of seating from hard chairs, sofas and high stools and tables of different heights. There was step free seating in the dress circle and my seat, from which I had a wonderful view involved 2 steps. The seats appeared to have been recently re-upholstered and were very comfortable. I went to see a matinée performance of The Elephant Man. This performance was signed, captioned, relaxed and had an audio description. The whole experience felt inclusive and welcoming.



The accessible toilet was on a different floor from the bar and dress circle when I visited. I was able to use the lift to reach it. The accessible toilet was huge and had a step free accessible shower. There were emergency cords at the toilet and shower area. It was clean and tidy.



Staff were friendly and welcoming. When I phoned to book my seat I felt my access needs were understood. Throughout my visit staff were friendly and helpful.

Anything else you wish to tell us?

The production was excellent, managing to combine the very personal story of Joseph Merrick while also being thought provoking about society's attitudes towards disability. Jamie Beddard, a disabled actor, played the main role Joseph Merrick aka The Elephant Man. He was impressive and powerful in the role. There were lots of disabled people in the audience and the whole experience was one of inclusivity. Other venues could learn a lot from Bristol Old Vic, as this is a historic theatre which has successfully addressed the issue of access. Thank you Bristol Old Vic.


Front of theatre in the middle of redevelopment Stage door Huge lift Low box office counter Stage Seating in dress circle

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