Mat Fraser

Assume nothing when it comes to Mat Fraser and what he can do. He’s a rock drummer who has played at the 2012 Paralympics and with Coldplay. He’s also written a musical and has acted on stage and on television. Some may recognize him from Season 4 of American Horror Story. He is also a martial artist.

Born in England with thalidomide-induced Phocomelia( an extremely rare congenital disorder involving malformation of the limbs), he is embarking on a new role on stage as Shakespeare’s Richard III.

“Fraser is an actor of scintillating physicality and vocal power.” – director Barrie Rutter.

Richard III will run at Hull Truck Theatre, in London, from May 4 to May 27.



The skeleton of Richard III, showing the curve in his spine.
Credit: © University of Leicester

What makes this most interesting is that Richard III also had a disability. Richard III, who ruled England from 1483 to 1485, had adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. So the casting of Mat is brilliant. So often non-disabled actors play the role of disabled actors.


Shakespeare’s twisted villain’s bones were recently unearthed in 2012. Proof of the curve of the spine, despite no paintings of the time, exist of Richard III.

Richard III may not have been a good man, one thing is certain: do not assume anything about what someone can or cannot do. Mat Fraser, a good guy, playing a villain, doesn’t let anything get in the way of his goals.

If you’re in London in May, I strongly suggest taking in this play. See the man playing the man with a disability. If you do, let me know what you think. Is there anyone else who some may assume the lack of ability, you see with awesome talents? Share so others can learn more.

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