This week, our pupils were taken to London to see a performance of ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’, the National Theatre’s highly acclaimed production based on Mark Haddon’s award-winning novel, at the Piccadilly Theatre, in the West End.
You might well ask what prompts teachers and support staff to volunteer their personal time to drive a minibus to London to see a play, on a ‘school night’?, well our trip to London this week was one I shall personally remember for a very long time and for all the right reasons.
Having secured parking in Bloomsbury for the buses (not an easy feat!), we walked to the Piccadilly Theatre, before heading through China Town to Covent Garden for a quick bite to eat before the show. Back at the theatre, having secured the best seats in the house (for a fraction of the normal price!), we were treated to personal waited service for food & drinks throughout the evening.
The show was exceptional, and follows the story of Christopher Boone’s search for the killer of his neighbour’s dog, Wellington. The central characters are Christopher, his teacher Siobhan, dad Ed and mum, Judy, with all the other characters being played by a further six cast members. There was very clever use of visual projections, drawings, further cast members and boxes constantly being re-purposed into different props to support the narrative.
The play deals with autism spectrum condition. At its centre is a young boy, who is more at home with maths problems and geometric logic than comprehension of human emotion and empathy, a boy with a brilliant mind, but totally unaware of what’s going on with the people closest to him.
The GCSE requirement that our drama students must have viewed a piece of live drama as part of their ‘Live Theatre Evaluation’ (part of their exam consists of two questions requiring students to analyse and evaluate a live theatre performance they have seen). I can only imagine that with this epic piece of theatre reverberating around our student’s heads, they will enter their final exams ahead of the pack.
My thanks to Miss Hinde, Curriculum Area Lead for Performing Arts, for not only researching and finding this play, but for her tireless effort to secure the best outcome for our pupils.
So returning to my original question, ‘what makes staff volunteer our personal time?’… it’s the wonderful pupils and teachers at our school and the knowledge that we are providing the best stimulus for our pupils to be inspired and succeed, when it comes to exam time.
by Mrs Williams, member of staff and parent.