Bristol Old Vic's open call for Wonder Boy

Theatre / Acting

Bristol Old Vic’s open call for Wonder Boy

By Sarski Anderson, Monday Nov 8, 2021

Bristol Old Vic are seeking a young male to play the lead role in the world premiere production of Ross Willis’ Wonder Boy which opens at Bristol Old Vic next spring ( March 5-26, 2022). The lead character has a stammer and director Sally Cookson’s ambition is to cast someone who is currently experiencing, or has previously lived with, a speech impediment or has close proximity to members of that community.

Bristol Old Vic are opening this casting call out to non-professional actors, to try and reach out to the stammering community and beyond and also to ensure access for performers is as wide as possible.

Wonder Boy is a story about what it is like to live with a stammer,” says director, Sally Cookson. “People who experience stammering are often stigmatised and made to feel their way of communicating is the negative opposite of fluency.

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“We have a duty therefore to see the role of Sonny played by an actor who has experience of stammering, if at all possible. To open up the casting process to welcome those who have historically faced systemic discrimination is our responsibility. We look forward to introducing ‘Sonny’ and the rest of our cast in the new year.”

Sonny is 12 years old, struggling with a heightened stammer, crippling grief, and trapped in a crumbling school system.

What use is a boy who can’t say his own name?

Who can save him?

A comic book hero of his own creation helps him soar above his grim reality – but words are power and Sonny needs to find his way in a world full of them. When cast in the school production of Hamlet by the headteacher, he soon finds the real heroes are closer than you think.

Wonder Boy is a dynamic and heartfelt new play exploring the challenges of communication, the joy in friendship and the power of finding your own way of being heard.

The creative team has been working closely with Simon Bailey from the Bristol branch of the charity STAMMA to ensure the character and the potential casting is handled with understanding and in a supportive way. STAMMA supports anyone who stammers in the UK and tackles the stigma, ignorance and discrimination that people who stammer often face.


  • Must be over 18 with a playing age of 16 years
  • No matter your level of stammering or vocal tic, we encourage you to apply!
  • You do not need to still be experiencing blockages with your speech
  • Family and friends with close connections to the community also welcome
  • No prior acting experience necessary

Bristol Old Vic last held an open casting call out for The Red Lion in 2019 which resulted in Bristol-born-and-bred Thomas McGee being cast. Sadly, the production was postponed due to the first lockdown. He will be making his professional stage debut in the returning production in the Studio this spring.


Interested applicants for the casting are invited to send a few words about themselves, along with a recent photo, to [email protected] with the subject ‘Wonder Boy’; Bristol Old Vic will be in touch with further details. The role will be paid. The deadline is Tuesday, November 30 November.

Wonder Boy runs at Bristol Old Vic from March 5-26, 2022. Further information and tickets are available at


Main photo: Bristol Old Vic

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