National Theatre schools tour comes to east London

Following the success of last year’s nationwide schools tour, a specially staged version of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time will be seen by seven secondary schools across outer East London in partnership with the Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch, this Autumn.

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 new schools in East London as well as returning to schools previously engaged with as the National continues to build relationships with them and introduce theatre to different age groups.

Having visited Eastbrook School (Dagenham) earlier in the tour, the production will visit the following local schools from November 4:

  • Royal Liberty School, Romford
  • Drapers’ Academy, Romford
  • Robert Clack (Lower School), Dagenham
  • Bower Park Academy, Romford (hosting The Brittons Academy, Rainham)
  • Marshalls Park Academy, Romford

The 90-minute version of the play is performed in the round and will be followed by a Q&A session for students with the professional 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.

Alice King-Farlow, Director of Learning at the National Theatre said, “The National Theatre is committed to increasing opportunities for students in outer East London to see live theatre.

“Simon Stephens’ brilliant play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a fantastic first experience of theatre and we know from last year’s tour that seeing a live professional production in your own school hall can have real impact.

“We’re delighted that more students across outer East London will experience the production in their school this year, and we’re working closely with Queen’s Theatre to engage with new audiences and to build relationships between schools and their local theatre.”

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 15 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.

The cast includes Cayvan Coates, Lily Knight, Marcia Lecky, Nicola McRoy, Evan Milton, Chris Nayak, Nick Pearse and Nadia Williams.

Mick Ferris

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