This week, a group of 15 Year 9 Drama students were given the amazing opportunity to watch an adaptation of Mark Haddon’s bestselling novel, now a top West End play, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the Gielgud Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue. The purpose of this visit was to aid members of the new Key Stage 3 Drama group, Ninth to prepare for our upcoming production of DNA. Ninth is an extra-curricular ensemble theatre group run by Mr Flower, for students with a strong interest in theatre and performance.

From the outside, Gielgud looks like a typical theatre, but once we entered and we were sat down in the auditorium, I couldn’t help but to admire the the complexity of the set and the amount of work that was put into the whole of the production. The stage and props were arranged in a regular, grid pattern, creating a ‘mechanical’ sort of atmosphere. Most impressive were the lights: I was simply amazed with the effects they pulled off with lighting. The grid would light up in a deep red colour at certain points throughout the play and some of the props would light up as well. It was a truly spectacular sight and one that really enhanced the performance.

I also found it amazing how the stage was manipulated to suit the needs of the actors. There were hidden flaps behind some grids in the wall or on the floor that would hold more props for the actors and there was even a massive hole under the stage where tables and other large props could rise up. The grid also doubled as a massive blackboard and the main character, Christopher, would draw out his emotions on the floor or on one of the walls, to then be projected onto the grid on the main wall for all of us to see.

The actors, especially Christopher, used the stage in a very dynamic fashion, even climbing up the walls. Expanding the stage this way was very impressive as it added almost another dimension. Finally, Christopher’s unique style of talking were an exciting demonstration of various theatrical techniques we have been learning about, which he actively employed throughout the play.

Overall, it was a hugely enjoyable and very useful experience for all of us and on behalf of Ninth, I would like to thank Mr Flower for organising this visit and Mr Millar for accompanying us.