A specially staged production of the National Theatre’s award-winning play, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time will be seen by eight secondary schools in Outer East London in partnership with the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch as part of a 12-week tour in Autumn 2018.
The tour forms part of the National Theatre’s drive to introduce new audiences to theatre, in a three-year partnership working with local theatres and schools. The tour will visit the following local schools in September and October 2018:
- Eastbrook School
- Hall Mead School
- Harris Academy Rainham
- Hornchurch High School
- Marshalls Park Academy
- Royal Liberty School
- Sanders School
- The Brittons Academy
The schools tour is a 90-minute version of the play performed in the round and will be followed by a Q&A session for students with the company. The tour is accompanied by a learning programme which includes professional development for teachers led by the NT and Curious Incident movement directors Frantic Assembly, as well as curriculum-based resources and workshops.
Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch is collaborating with the National Theatre to develop local audiences and engagement in theatre and reach new audiences in Outer East London. Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch has been working closely with the NT to identify local schools to take part in the programme, host training sessions for teachers and provide logistical support. The collaboration is part of a three-year project, Theatre Nation Partnerships, focusing on six areas around the country.
The schools tour will visit five schools per week from September 2018 and will also visit Doncaster, London, Rochdale, Sunderland, Salford, Wakefield, Wigan and Wolverhampton.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time brings Mark Haddon’s best-selling novel to life on stage, adapted by two-time Olivier Award-winning playwright Simon Stephens and directed by Olivier and Tony Award®‑winning director Marianne Elliott. The novel has won more than 17 literary awards and is widely studied in schools. Simon Stephens’ adaptation is a set text for GCSE English Literature.
The play tells the story of Christopher John Francis Boone, who is fifteen years old. He stands besides Mrs Shears’ dead dog, Wellington, who has been speared with a garden fork, it is seven minutes after midnight and Christopher is under suspicion. He records each fact in a book he is writing to solve the mystery of who killed Wellington. He has an extraordinary brain, and is exceptional at maths while ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. He has never ventured alone beyond the end of his road, he detests being touched and distrusts strangers. But his detective work, forbidden by his father, takes him on a frightening journey that upturns his world.
Speaking about the schools tour Simon Stephens said: ‘It means the world to me that Curious Incident will be touring schools around the country. I worked as a schoolteacher teaching kids in Dagenham in Essex 20 years ago. I loved it. I still think of myself as a teacher. I have seen firsthand how inspiring drama is to young people in schools. I believe the arts to be fundamental to our society. We can’t afford to lose them from our education system. I am delighted that our play will play its part in introducing young people to the theatre. I always hoped that Curious Incident was a play that could be performed anywhere, by anyone. The play is designed to provoke and inspire imagination and interpretation in its staging and inspiration in its audience. The tour will, I hope, provide the same kind of imagination and inspiration throughout the country.’
Alice King-Farlow, Director of Learning at the National Theatre said, ‘At the National Theatre we believe that all young people should have the opportunity to experience and participate in drama no matter where they are in the UK. We’re delighted to be touring this award-winning play to schools, and via our Theatre Nation Partnership with Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, we hope that bringing Simon Stephen’s brilliant Curious Incident to young audiences in Outer East London will help to spark imaginations and encourage participation in theatre.’
Julie Bishop, Head of Vocation at Eastbrook Secondary School, Dagenham said, ‘This is a really exciting opportunity for the students and being able to work with the National Theatre as they tour with the show Curious Incident is amazing and I know that our students will gain so much from this.’
The cast includes Shiv Jalota, Kathryn McGarr, Nick Pearse, Chereen Buckley, Caroline Parker, Matt Wilman, Suni La and Kieran Garland.
The production is designed by Olivier and Tony Award-winner Bunny Christie and Tony Award-winning lighting designer Paule Constable. Movement is by Scott Graham and Olivier Award-winning Steven Hoggett for Frantic Assembly, music by Adrian Sutton (who also composed music for War Horse) and sound by Ian Dickinson for Autograph. The Associate Director is Anna Marsland.
The National Theatre’s Partner for Learning is Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Schools Touring is supported by: The Mohn Westlake Foundation, The Garfield Weston Foundation, The Ingram Trust, Archie Sherman Charitable Trust, Behrens Foundation, Cleopatra Trust, Jill and David Leuw, Mulberry Trust and The Royal Victoria Hall Foundation.