Blog - Accidents at Work

Actor Sues after being Shot in the Eye on Stage

An actor is suing a theatre for compensation after being shot in the eye on stage.

David John Birrell was acting in a performance of the play ‘Passion’ at the Donmar Warehouse in Covent Garden, London when the accident happened in October 2010. Part of his role required him to fire a replica Colt 1851 Navy revolver whilst acting in an on-stage duel.

However, this time when he fired the gun, it backfired, causing the blank cartridge to eject rearwards from the gun at speed. The cartridge hit him in his right eye causing him a serious injury.

The accident has left Mr Birrell blind in that eye and with a change in his physical appearance. The Daily Mail reports that he is suing the theatre company – Donmar Warehouse Projects Ltd – for compensation for the injury he suffered. His team are said to be seeking £250,000, claiming that the disfigurement he has suffered has affected his career and personal life.

Although the theatre company has admitted liability for the accident, they are said to be reserving the right to seek a contribution to the damages from the prop company that supplied the gun. The prop company meanwhile contest that the gun was serviced and cleaned before it was supplied to the theatre, and argue that the incident was caused by defective ammunition that was not supplied by them.

Legal papers relating to the case are reported to have just been submitted to the High Court in London.

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