Bristol Old Vic today announces the full cast for the world première of Dr Semmelweis, based on an original idea by Mark Rylance, and written by Stephen Brown with Rylance. Tom Morris directs the previously announced Rylance (Ignaz Semmelweis), who is joined by Jackie Clune (Anna Müller), Sandy Grierson (Jakob Kolletschka), Felix Hayes (Ferdinand von Hebra), Enyi Okoronkwo (Franz Arneth), Clemmie Sveaas (Lisa Elstein), Thalissa Teixeira (Maria Semmelweis), Alan Williams (Johann Klein) and Daniel York Loh (Karl von Rokitanksy) with dancers Roseanna AndersonJoshua Ben-TovimMegan May Cameron, Megumi Eda, Suzy Halstead and Millie Thomas and musicians Haim ChoiCoco InmanKasia Ziminska and Shizuku Tatsuno, who play together as the Salomé Quartet. The production opens on 26 January, with previews from 20 January and runs until 12 February 2022.

Dr Semmelweis is one of three world première productions in Bristol Old Vic’s spring season, with award-winning local writer Ross Willis’ Wonder Boy, which follows the experience of a young boy with a stammer, examining the challenges of communication, the joy in friendship and the power of finding your own way of being heard. Directed by Sally Cookson, the production runs 5 – 26 March 2022. This is followed by The Meaning of Zong, written by and starring Giles Terera, which tells the story of pioneer abolitionist Olaudah Equiano and his response to a massacre aboard the slave ship Zong. The production, responding to the social upheaval the world has witnessed in recent years is directed by Terera and Tom Morris, and runs 2 April – 7 May 2022.

Bristol Old Vic in association with Sonia Friedman Productions, the National Theatre and Shakespeare Road present

The World Première of
By Stephen Brown with Mark Rylance
Based on an original idea by Mark Rylance

Directed by Tom Morris; Set and Costume Design by Ti Green; Lighting Design by Richard Howell
Choreography by Antonia Franceschi; Music by Adrian Sutton; Sound Design by Jon Nicholls

Voice and Dialect work by Martin McKellan; Associate Director: Claire O’Reilly

Assistant Director: Victor Lirio

Bristol Old Vic

20 January – 12 February 2022

Confronted by the terrible death toll of childbed fever in 19th century Vienna, maverick Doctor Semmelweis makes a discovery that could save hundreds of thousands of new mothers. But when the medical establishment questions his methods, rejects his theory and doubts his sanity, the controversial surgeon finds that being a pioneer is not enough. 

Years later, he is haunted by the ghosts of the women he failed to save. Is it too late to convince the medical establishment to see the truth? And if he tries what will be the cost?

Jackie Clune plays Anna Müller. Her theatre credits include [BLANK] (Donmar Warehouse/Clean Break), Measure for Measure, The Vote (Donmar Warehouse), The Tempest, Henry IV, Julius Caesar (Donmar King’s Cross/St. Ann’s Warehouse), Emilia (Vaudeville Theatre), Utility (Orange Tree Theatre), Candide (Menier Chocolate Factory), Mogadishu (Lyric Hammersmith), The Belle’s Stratagem (Southwark Playhouse), Mamma Mia! (Prince of Wales Theatre/International tour), Billy Elliot (Victoria Palace Theatre), Showstopper (Arts Theatre), and Julie Burchill is Away (Soho Theatre). For television, her credits include Motherland, Stephen, Too Close, Borderline and Three Girls; and for film, DenialJawbone and Breathtaking.

Sandy Grierson plays Jakob Kolletschka. His theatre credits include Dido, Queen of Carthage, Dr. Faustus, The Tempest, Comedy of Errors, Twelfth Night, The 13 Midnight Challenges of Angelus Diablo (RSC), Charlie Sonata, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, The Wizard of Oz (Royal Lyceum Edinburgh), Anything That Gives Off Light, The Beautiful Cosmos of Ivor Cutler, Dunsinane, Little Otik, Home (National Theatre of Scotland), Lanark (Edinburgh International Festival/Citizens), The Nutcracker, Mr Holgado (Unicorn Theatre), Grit (Pachamama), Arabian Nights (Tricycle Theatre), Saturday Night, Lost Ones, Mancub, Stars Beneath the Sea, The Invisible Man (Vanishing Point), Tonight Sandy Grierson Will Lecture, Dance and Box, Rhetoric, My ArmA Prayer (Greyscale), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Headlong), Monsters (Arcola Theatre), Gagarin Way (Bath Theatre Royal), Cherry Blossom (Traverse Theatre) and The Soul of Chien-Nu Leaves Her Body (Young Vic). For television, his credits include Murder Island and Legit; and for film, Victoria and Abdul.

Felix Hayes plays Ferdinand von Hebra. His theatre credits include A Christmas Carol (Bristol Old Vic), A Monster Calls (The Old Vic), Winter Solstice (Actors Touring Company/UK tour), Vice VersaThe Tempest, Comedy of Errors, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, City Madam, Cardenio (RSC), Jane Eyre (National Theatre/Bristol Old Vic), Romeo and Juliet (Rose Theatre Kingston), 101 Dalmatians, The Adventures of Pinnochio, The Tempest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, A Christmas Carol (Tobacco Factory), Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves (Traveling Light/Tobacco Factory), The Gruffalo’s Child, The Gruffalo (Tall Stories) and The Unsinkable Clerk, The Pickled King (Network of Stuff). For television, his credits include Three Girls, A Gert Lush Christmas, Drunk Histories and Friday Night Dinner.

Enyi Okoronkwo plays Franz Arneth. His theatre credits include Haystack (Hampstead Theatre), Noises Off (Lyric Hammersmith), Tartuffe, Ostalgie, The Visit, (National Theatre), The Model Apartment (Ustinov Studio), The Meaning of Zong, The Cherry Orchard (Bristol Old Vic), Junkyard (Headlong/Bristol Old Vic/Theatr Clwyd/Rose Theatre Kingston), Boy With Beer (King’s Head Theatre), Food for Thought (Figs in Wigs), Shock (REC Theatre) and Arthur’s World (SPID Theatre Company). For film, his credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Mark Rylance plays Ignaz Semmelweis. His theatre credits include Othello (Shakespeare’s Globe), Farinelli and the King (Shakespeare’s Globe/Duke of York’s Theatre/Belasco Theatre), Nice Fish (Harold Pinter Theatre – also co-writer with Louis Jenkins), Twelfth Night (Shakespeare’s Globe/Apollo Theatre/Belasco Theatre – Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play, Richard III (Shakespeare’s Globe/Apollo Theatre), Jerusalem (Royal Court Theatre/Duke of York’s Theatre – Olivier Award for Best Actor and Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play), La Bête (Comedy Theatre), Boeing-Boeing (Apollo Theatre/Cort Theatre – Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play) and Much Ado About Nothing (Queen’s Theatre – Olivier Award for Best Actor). Rylance was the Artistic Director of the Shakespeare’s Globe for 10 years (1996-2006). His television credits include Wolf Hall – BAFTA Award for Best Actor and an Emmy nomination. His film credits include Bridge of Spies – Academy Award and BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor, DunkirkThe Trial of the Chicago 7The BFG and Ready Player One.

Clemmie Sveaas plays Lisa Elstein. Her theatre credits include Here We Are (The Place), Othello, Lightning Child (Shakespeare’s Globe), Pinocchio, Everyman, Medea (National Theatre), Stepmother/Stepfather, Three and Four Quarters (HeadSpaceDance), Les Enfants Terribles (Barbican Theatre), Macbeth (Young Vic), The Last Mermaid (Wales Millennium Centre), Collapse (Southbank Centre), LOL (Lots of Love) (Protein Dance Company), The Wind in the Willows (Duchess Theatre), Nest (New Movement Collective), Hexenhatz (Bern Ballet), Doctor Dee (London Coliseum/Manchester International Festival), Aida (Royal Opera House) and The Most Incredible Thing (Sadler’s Wells). For film, her credits include Cats and London Road.

Thalissa Teixeira plays Maria Semmelweis. Her theatre credits include Julie (National Theatre), Othello, The Broken Heart, The Changeling (Shakespeare’s Globe), The Unknown Island (Gate Theatre), Yerma (Young Vic), The Night Watch (Royal Exchange), BU21 (Theatre503) and Electra (The Old Vic). For television, her credits include Press and The Musketeers; and for film, Take Down.

Alan Williams plays Johann Klein. His theatre credits include Faith, Hope and CharityAs You Like itHere We GoLight Shining in BuckinghamshireEvery Good Boy Deserves Favour (National Theatre), War Horse (National Theatre/West End), Three SistersMary StuartThe Jew of Malta (Almeida Theatre), GundogMintThe President Has Come To See YouTalk ShowStoning MaryLucky DogCraveLocal,  (Royal Court Theatre), The Crucible (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Krapp’s Last Tape (Hull Truck Theatre), A Thousand Stars Explode in the SkyThe Birthday Party (Lyric Hammersmith), Comfort Me With Apples (Hampstead Theatre), The Scarlett LetterThe Sea (Chichester Festival Theatre), The Rib Cage (Royal Exchange Theatre) and Kiss the Sky (Bush Theatre). His television credits include The Long CallFather Brown, The CaptureChernobylSunTrapThe GuiltyStarlingsLutherRomeLife BeginsAlways and Everyone; and for film, I Was at Home, But…Sometimes always NeverPeterlooTrespass Against UsThe Dreamed PathRun for your WifeLondon BoulevardGrow Your OwnBright Young ThingsHeartlandsElephant JuiceAmong Giants and The Cockroach That Ate Cincinnati.

Daniel York Loh plays Karl von Rokitanksy. His theatre credits include Before the Wall (Edinburgh Fringe Festival), Pah-La (Royal Court Theatre), The Shadow Factory (Nuffield Theatre Company), Dido, Queen of Carthage, Snow in Midsummer (RSC), King Lear (RSC/Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre), Hitler (The Finger Players), The Scar Test (Untold Theatre), Welcome Home Captain Fox (Donmar Warehouse), Our American Cousin, P’yongyang, We Know Where You Live, The Wallace (Finborough Theatre), The Importance of Being Earnest (National Library of Singapore), Turnadot (Hampstead Theatre), Branded (The Old Vic), In the Bag (Traverse Theatre) Five Tanks (Hackney Empire Theatre), Doug Lucie Double Bill (Courtyard Theatre), The World of Extreme Happiness (National Theatre), Freud’s Last Session (Esplanade Theatre Studio) and The Changeling (Southwark Playhouse). For television, his credits include White Dragon and Jade Dragon; and for film, Scarborough.



Bristol Old Vic
20 January – 12 February 2022

Times: 7.30pm / 2.30pm (Thu & Sat mat)

Box Office: / 0117 987 7877

Tickets: from £10

Age recommended: 12+


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A Bristol Old Vic production in association with Sonia Friedman Productions, the National Theatre and Shakespeare Road
20 January – 12 February 2022

A Bristol Old Vic production
5 – 26 March 2022

A Bristol Old Vic production
Originally co-commissioned by the National Theatre
2 April – 7 May 2022