A specially staged production of the National Theatre’s award-winning play, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time will begin a 12-week tour to 60 schools across the UK in September 2018.
The production will visit five selected secondary schools each week across London and the UK, touring to the National Theatre’s six Theatre Nation partner areas: Outer East London in partnership with the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch; Wakefield, in partnership with the Theatre Royal; Doncaster, in partnership with Cast; Sunderland in partnership with Sunderland Empire and Sunderland Culture; Wolverhampton, in partnership with the Grand Theatre; and the Greater Manchester area in partnership with The Lowry, Salford.
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.
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 Partnerships, we hope that bringing Simon Stephen’s brilliant Curious Incident to young audiences across the country will help to spark imaginations and encourage participation in theatre”.