London Defender

The Daily Mirror of the Great Britain

Theatre project brings West End play to Barnet schools

A SPECIALLY staged version of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time from the National Theatre is being played on stage all week at Whitefield School, Barnet, giving over 500 students the opportunity to see the incredible theatre production live.

The tour forms part of the National Theatre’s Theatre Nation Partnerships project, a drive to introduce new audiences to theatre, working with local theatres and schools. The 90-minute version of the play is performed in the round and is followed by a Q&A session for students with the actors and crew from 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 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 a school hall can have real impact. We’re delighted that another 13,000 students across the UK will experience the production in their school this year, and we’re working closely with our Theatre Nation Partners to engage with new audiences and to build relationships between schools and their local theatre.”

James Clarke, drama teacher at Whitefield School, said: “Too many young people today unfortunately never get the opportunity to experience the magic of live theatre, the Curious Incident Tour is an opportunity for our students to have this magic brought to them! Curious for me is a play about celebrating difference and overcoming the odds, no matter your own circumstances. The content of the play links so well to the new autism provision, funded by Barnet, that is about to open at the school. This key message is something I hope all our students take away with them, nothing is impossible. This is an extremely exciting and unique experience for our students and I feel very privileged and lucky to be able to welcome the National Theatre to Whitefield.”

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, a young boy who has autism. He stands beside 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. It’s a physical theatre performance that takes the audience through a multi-sensory journey.

To find out more about Whitefield School, you can attend an Open Evening on Wednesday, September 25, between 4.30pm and 8pm.

To find out more about the tour, visit