Joseph Merrick, better known as the Elephant Man, is cast out. He survived circus ‘freak shows’ and the revulsion of a gawking public for years until a young doctor offered him asylum at the London Hospital in 1879.

So began a life of endless observation. But curiosity works both ways, and Merrick returned the horrified gaze of Victorian punters and nurses with wonder and optimism.

This story has inspired multiple theatrical adaptations, novels and a film by David Lynch. Now the team behind Malthouse Theatre’s Picnic at Hanging Rock, director Matthew Lutton and playwright Tom Wright, reunite to create a poignant new work that uncovers empathy in a world that rejects difference.

The Real and Imagined History of the Elephant Man will span across Joseph Merrick’s life, from birth to death, weaving through the bustling streets of London, the incurables ward of the city’s Hospital and the theatrics of the English public arena. The Real and Imagined History of the Elephant Man is a remarkable tale of a city negotiating the discovery of a 'new man'.

½
"SUPERB. EVERYONE SHOULD BE MOVED BY SUCH POETIC AND ACCOMPLISHED THEATRE"
— The Age
"[AN] EXTRAORDINARILY ACCOMPLISHED AND REWARDING PRODUCTION"
— The Australian

Key image: Zan Wimberley
Images: Pia Johnson

BY / 

Tom Wright

DIRECTION / 

Matthew Lutton

CAST / 

Paula Arundell, Julie Forsyth, Emma J Hawkins, Daniel Monks, Sophie Ross

SET & COSTUME DESIGN /

Marg Horwell

LIGHTING DESIGN /

Paul Jackson

COMPOSITION & SOUND DESIGN / 

Jethro Woodward

Event & ticketing details

Accessibility

Wheelchair Access
Audio Described
Tactile Tour
Auslan Interpreted

Dates & Times

PREVIEWS 7.30pm Fri 4 Aug, 7.30pm Sat 5 Aug, 6.30pm Mon 7 Aug, 6.30pm Tue 8 Aug
OPENING NIGHT 7.30pm, Wed 9 Aug
TIME TO TALK 6.30pm, Tue 15 Aug
AUDIO DESCRIBED & TACTILE TOUR 6.30pm, Fri 18 Aug
AUSLAN INTERPRETED 7.30pm, Thu 24 Aug

Location

Merlyn Theatre

The Malthouse, 113 Sturt St, Southbank 3006

Get directions

Train

Any train to Flinders Street, then a 12-minute stroll through Melbourne’s sparkling Arts Precinct.

Tram

The No. 1 South Melbourne tram goes right past our door. Get off at Stop 18. Any tram down St Kilda Road—jump off at Grant Street, Stop 17 and take a 3-minute walk.

Event notes

DURATION /

90 minutes (no interval)

WARNINGS /

Contains haze and smoke effects.