09 December 2013
Actor compensated over eye injury
Actor David Birrell has received compensation following an accident at the Donwar Warehouse in which he was blinded in his right eye.
The accident took place at the theatre in October 2010 and came about when a prop gun misfired during an onstage duel while the actor starred in the Stephen Sondheim musical Passion at the London theatre.
His injuries occurred when a replica Colt 1851 Navy revolver that had been loaded with blanks backfired during the performance.
The accident caused his eye to become "shrunken and unsightly" and he is now required to wear cosmetic makeup to disguise its appearance.
Originally seeking compensation totalling £250,000, Mr Birrell has now accepted an undisclosed sum from the theatre for his injuries. The amount of compensation he initially sought was due to the impact of the loss of his sight on his future career.
Although he is still receiving treatment for his injuries, the actor recently made a successful return to the stage as the lead in the musical Sweeney Todd as part of a collaboration between the West Yorkshire Playhouse and Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester.
In the wake of the accident, Mr Birrell asked acting union Equity to represent him in his dealings with the theatre.
Following the conclusion of the case, the actor stated: "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."
The theatre added in its own statement on the unfortunate events that throughout the compensation process its priority has been, and continues to be, Mr Birrell's welfare.
Donwar Warehouse admitted liability for the actor's injuries as soon as they occurred.
By Francesca Witney