Blinded actor reaches settlement with Donmar

David Birrell as Sweeney Todd. Pictured with Robert Paterson as Judge Turpin.
David Birrell as Sweeney Todd. Pictured with Robert Paterson as Judge Turpin.
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Actor David Birrell has received “substantial” damages after he was blinded in his right eye when a prop gun misfired during an onstage duel at the Donmar Warehouse.

The accident took place in 2010, when Birrell was appearing in a revival of Stephen Sondheim musical Passion at the London theatre. The actor was supported in his case by union Equity. He was initially seeking £250,000 damages. The case has now been resolved with the performer receiving an undisclosed but “substantial” settlement.

He issued a statement to Equity’s in-house magazine, which said: “Without the support, assistance and encouragement of Equity and its solicitors, I could never have hoped to fight this difficult, lengthy and complex case in the way we did had I not been a member. The positive outcome is down to the backing and security their involvement gave me.” Birrell declined to comment further on the case.

Birrell has since returned to stage work and recently appeared in the title tole of Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd at the West Yorkshire Playhouse and Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester.

A statement issued by the Donmar Warehouse said: “The Donmar has nothing further to add other than to restate that the company’s priority throughout has been and continues to be David Birrell’s welfare.”

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