Released 12th July 2021

After 5 sell out tours, the famous dinner & dissection event, as seen on Dragons Den has returned from the Covid ashes with a brand new show - The Elephant Man.


Inviting those studying for/working in medical professions or with a wider interest in human anatomy to join the Dinner & Dissection clinical team and understand exactly who Joseph Merrick was - known as the Elephant Man. 



Guests will step inside a bespoke made big top tent that has been converted into an operating theatre to explore the anatomy and physiology of Joseph Merrick with focus on his underlying medical condition via hands-on, interactive dissection of real anatomic specimens. 



However the event has become a topic of controversy as a petition has been created, insisting that the show exploits people with disabilities.



ITAE Productions, home to Dinner & Dissection,  is an award winning educational event company founded on over 30 years of teaching and leadership experience and prides itself on delivering world class educational learning experiences in schools, colleges and universities throughout the UK.


Though many find the topic controversial, Samuel Piri CEO of ITAE GROUP said:



“Joseph Merrick is a historic figure that captures the imagination. The event is to showcase the human body through hands-on dissection - a crucial part of training for medical professionals. We have opened this event to all as more and more people have become increasingly interested in their own body and their health. After all, the human body is a fascinating machine and each and every one of us owns one. We should be talking about it and we should want to know more about it. We understand that some people may find the event distasteful… The sciences are traditionally an underappreciated and often avoided subject by a large proportion of society. Now, more than ever, we need the sciences and we need people to engage with them. In fact, I would go as far as to say humanity as we know it depends on science right now. Time and time again societies of the past have tried to censor science bowing to taboo and public opinion.”



In acknowledgement and response to the petition, ITAE Group have decided to donate £1 from every ticket sale from Dinner & Dissection to a charity working to improve the lives of disabled children.


“Every student should learn anatomy like this”

Surgical lead - Cambridge University 



Who can attend?


The event delivers in-depth content aimed at those studying anatomy, physiology or pathology at an undergraduate level. The event is also a great experience for any person who is interested in the human body or medicine on the whole.


For more information, head to:


Tickets can be purchased online via the box office website 

Journalists should contact our nominated Press & Media team directing their enquires to Please note our press team are only able to respond to journalist enquires. 



Released 13th July 2021

The educational benefits of understanding human history. In response to the recent press coverage ITAE PRODUCTIONS organisers of Dinner & Dissection -The Elephant Man are trailblazers in promoting awareness and engagement in the sciences. Human opinion and public mood for years have given science a bad reputation which is something ITAE is keen to challenge. As a species we only advance our understanding by discussion, debate, research and experimental testing. At ITAE we strive to engage with all aspects of society whom, due to the COVID 19 pandemic are paying a particular interest in the life sciences. What’s more is that as a nation we face chronic shortages in NHS staffing and need to inspire more people to actively change their life style to lead a more healthy and fulfilled life. The BBC recently reported that since the Victorian age itself that life expectancy has not changed in Britain in over 190 years.


While we recognise that some groups within society may find the mission of ITAE offensive and distasteful, this is not sufficient grounds to censor and halt the learning process. ITAE CEO Sam Piri added “There are many different types of learning style, something that I am academically trained in and very experienced at executing. The reason why dinner and dissection is such a huge success is our team’s ability to capture the imaginations of all aspects of society and engage them in learning. We have all types of people attend, historically people have travelled from Australia specifically to attend an event to learn about their own experiences and ailments. Our 2019 sell out tour was centred around a patient killed by a drink driver. A true story. One which resonated with a huge proportion of society and was delivered in an identical fashion to this year’s themed event. As it stands the current show is being developed by myself an experienced teacher and science communicator in the medical space as well as leading experts in this field. We are consulting with leading historians to recreate the very essence of the tale of Joseph Merrick and to shine a light into the physiology of this condition. The style we use to engage an audience is modern and allows us to connect with audiences that traditionally do not engage with formal mediums. I myself have a number of underlying medical conditions and I champion any work to raise awareness and get people talking.”



“The world we live in means science needs to work harder to push its message, ITAE is a non government funded organisation with a a vision to contribute to the greater social good, I would invite any critic to engage with us and judge us on our substance over our style. I have been working hard to ensure that this years event is produced in a historically accurate, scientifically correct and morally acceptable fashion and I am satisfied that it is. Over 88% of attendees are active healthcare professionals who are practicing or training to look after the most vulnerable in society. When surveyed over 92% of guests said that Dinner & Dissection improved their knowledge skills and understand in anatomy and physiology and left more confident in their own clinical skills. This is due to our experience in taking what can be a difficult subject to master and delivering it in a more engaging and relaxed setting. This is not exploitation.”


“It’s disappointing to have received such criticism given the details of the event have not yet been fully released or the show plan fully finalised. The theatre is the oldest vehicle for sharing stories and experiences and Dinner & Dissection is a great example of just that. The decision to utilise our modern big top tent is principally for economic and logistical reasons but lends itself well to a very real and factual aspect of this story, as well as reducing the risk of COVID transmission when compared to a normal indoor event “In line with the company's ethos I have decided to offer a charitable donation from each ticket to a UK based disability charity to continue the good work we do."


The human body is not just for doctors or those with clinical conditions, we all own one and should be inquisitive about it. I am excited to safely welcome audiences keen to engage with this incredible story to this years Dinner & Dissection event.” Dinner & Dissection opens this year in October in Newcastle Upon Tyne before a full UK wide tour begins in April 2022. The selected date of the event is due to the other ITAE PRODUCTIONS events operating in the area that week including the and, the dates of which can be verified on those websites. 



Released 14th July 2021

Following the short feature in Telegraph on Wednesday 14th July 2021 entitled 'Show that 'dissects' the Elephant Man attacked' ITAE Group has released the following formal statement:


 In the days leading up the publication we became aware of a petition which attracted 1300 signatures calling for intervention to prevent the show from taking place, our social media page became a place where a number of activists began to troll our content posting derogatory comments aimed at our team and to other members of the pubic, in two cases, comments which tantamount to death threats. Our Facebook page is our place where we moderate & steer the narrative and debate, we invite all opinions but ask that these are posted once and respectfully. A number of profiles continued to repeatedly post comments as well as send direct messages threatening our staff and guests.We do not tolerate verbal abuse from any member of the public on any of our social media pages and will act swiftly too remove any such material and ban/restrict profiles which abuse or repeatedly post similar content.

Upon being made aware of the publication our CEO released the above two statements which highlight the specific nature of the event, who it's aimed and what it aims to achieve. We were indeed disappointed to read that the above position and comments were summarised down to one word 'disappointed' by journalist Dominic Penna. No balance was given to address the substance of the event which appears to be the main driving force behind the comments left online.

We were surprised to see comments in the article from both the SCOPE charity and Adam Pearson in the article, as to date ITAE have had no direct communication with either party.  In response to the print copy our CEO Sam Piri extended the opportunity to meet with Adam Pearson to discuss the points he raised, to explain how Dinner & Dissection is a tool for education & information and to seek to involve him in shaping the experience. Adam Pearson's agent since declined the offer.

As a group we operate a number of brands which we have official affiliations with some of the UK's much loved institutions. Our management team met late last night to discuss the debate around this years Dinner & Dissection theme and decided that in response to some of the comments we would make some adjustments to the way information is presented to the consumer on our website. These changes have been implemented in a period of planned outages and our website is now live and online.

ITAE Productions can confirm that this years events will take place at full capacity and promise to be an entertaining educational experience like other. We cannot wait to welcome guests to the event later this year.