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Set in the notorious 18th Century lunatic asylum that gives the play its name, Bedlam is the story of how a cruel and unusual institution starts to crumble, after the arrival of an unassuming country girl.

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First performed at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, London on the 5th September 2010.

Praise for “Bedlam”

“Leyshon has also come up with a satisfying narrative, in which a sailor seeks the beautiful girl who has gone mad in his absence, a rakish poet who has driven another woman into Bedlam receives a deserved comeuppance, and the drunken bully in charge of the hospital finds himself confronted by a decent new governor of reforming zeal. Jessica Swale directs a lively production, with a host of winning performances and a terrific selection of popular songs from the period, including one spectacularly filthy ditty that reaches a truly riotous climax.”
-Charles Spencer, Telegraph

“Leyshon has previously been noted for delicately devastating small-scale pieces. With Bedlam, though, she goes for broke in the opposite direction, turning the Globe into a chaotic madhouse and filling it with slapstick energy and blackly gleeful exuberance. Indeed, the distressing (and conscientiously well-researched) material has been tailored almost to a fault to the theatre’s unique environment […] Jessica Swale’s rambunctious production … is ebulliently performed by a delightful company…”
– The Independent

“Leyshon’s dialogue is saucy and spry: in her hands, the phrase “let me address the crowds in your marketplace” becomes a lewd innuendo. And, in Jessica Swale’s production, the ensemble sequences, with their stirring songs about whoring and cuckoldry, pack a vulgar, carnivalesque punch.”
– Variety

Cast & Creatives

Dr Carew, Jason Baughan
John, Patrick Brennan
Billy, Daon Broni
Dr Maynard, Phil Cheadle
Laurence, Sam Crane
Sal, Sophie Duval
Samuel, Kevork Malikyan
Richard, Sean Kearns
Tom O’Bedlam, James Lailey
Oliver, Danny Lee Wynter
May, Rose Leslie
Annabel, Barbara Marten
Matthew, Joseph Timms
Phyllis, Ella Smith
Stella, Lorna Stuart
Gardenia, Finntie Williams
Nancy, Jade Williams

Bedlamites: Charlotte Dodds, Alex Shaw, Jessica White, Chris Wynn
Musicians: Mark Bousie, Andy Robinson, Corrina Silvester
Written by Nell Leyshon
Directed by Jessica Swale
Designed by Soutra Gilmour
Composed by Ollie Fox