The Elephant Man | Meet Madeleine

27 Jun 2018

Previews for The Elephant Man have officially begun and to celebrate we've been getting to know the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School students. Here, Madeleine Schofield talks us through her experience of working on Bernard Pomerance's award-winning play. 

Where are you from and how did you get into acting? 

I'm from West Sussex in a beautiful little village called Lindfield, it sits just outside of Brighton. I think my discovery of acting came from my wonderful Mum, she was an actor also and home educated me and my 2 sisters. Our lessons consisted of making up plays, dances and reading poetry, so creativity was embedded from a young age; pretty dreamy until I had to do an hour of maths a day. 

Who are you playing in The Elephant Man and what challenges have you faced in that role? 

I am multi rolling a few parts in the show: Duchess, Pinhead and Miss Sandwich. I really enjoy getting to play around with different characters because each one is so far from the other, it's really interesting distinguishing them. 

Miss Sandwich has brought me my biggest challenge in the fact she is extremely committed to her opinions which are completely different to mine, trying to portray that in a sensitive way and not letting my view of the characters beliefs affect my interpretation. 

What research did you do whilst preparing for your role? 

We all did a lot of research on the era of the play as a basis, specifically the Victorian lifestyle and how this informs entertainment such as the freak shows. With most of my characters I had a lot of creative freedom due to the fact they weren't based on real people. I looked a lot into nurse training and where that stems from for women at a young age in that time period. We also did a lot of improv with Lee in rehearsals, playing our characters at different stages in their life, which helped build a bigger picture of their timeline up to the point of the play. 

What's your favourite thing about training at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School? 

I think most people who train at the school will be unified in saying we are like a little family. There is such a small number of us that it's so easy to know everyone and create a supportive atmosphere, it really is quite a special thing, feeling part of a community just wanting to make good art! 

 Are you excited to perform on the Bristol Old Vic stage? 

Yes! What a way to end the training by learning where some of the best have performed! It's going to be the cherry on top to my 3 years haven in Bristol before facing the hub of London! 

The Elephant Man continues until 7 Jul. Book your tickets here