The Elephant Man | Meet Stephanie

15 Jun 2018

Ahead of the The Elephant Man opening on 26 Jun, we've been getting to know the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School students. Here, Stephanie Booth 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 come from St Albans and got involved in drama from a very young age as a way of socialising and channelling my childish energy. I don’t ever really remember making a solid decision to be an actor, or if I did it was when I was very young; it’s just something that I have always known I wanted to do. I don’t come from an acting background and my school weren’t really use to people wanting to go to drama schools, so they couldn’t really give much advice in the way of applications. Therefore I worked really hard, joined amateur groups, youth theatre’s, did a foundation course and on the fourth attempt got into Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and never looked back!

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

I have four characters in The Elephant Man: Pin head, Porter, London Policeman and Countess. The main challenge is being able to create four distinctive, yet convincing people that the audience buy into, whilst also recognising that they are being played by the same person. I think what is great about this production is that we aren’t trying to hide the fact that we are storytelling and therefore multi-rolling, but instead embrace it and bring the audience along with makes my job a whole lot easier.

What research did you do whilst preparing for your role?

I did some research into the world of the play, the time period and the conditions in places like Whitechapel. I also watched the film, whilst it’s very different to the play it’s really useful to see the way they realised the world around the story. I mainly looked in to freak shows and Pin Heads, it’s a fascinating bit of history with some very sad and complex stories and I wanted to know about the people we would be portraying and the medical condition they had that was not properly understood in their time.

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

In three years of training it’s very difficult to pick out one favourite thing. I have loved training here and have probably learned more than I have time to write down. The best thing about the school is the people in it. I have made connections that will last for a lifetime and learnt from some interesting and inspiring people who all share the same passion for theatre that I do. The other factor in my love for Bristol Old Vic Theatre School is Bristol itself. It’s such a vibrant and exciting city that somehow manages to feel both bigger in spirit and smaller in atmosphere than it actually is, I will miss it!

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

I am so excited to perform on the Bristol Old Vic Stage, all of the graduate shows I have been involved in this year have been in interesting and converted spaces: How to Disappear (in the old fire station), Dracula (in the old ash pits at Temple Meads) so it will actually be quite a change to get back into a theatre. To be in such a beautiful and huge playing space like the Bristol Old Vic stage is really a huge privilege that I don’t think I will ever forget. It seems like the perfect to end my training.

The Elephant Man comes to Bristol Old Vic from 26 Jun – 7 Jul. Book your tickets here