Stockport School

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Stockport School

Ofsted Good School

Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Simon Stephens (playwright, ex-Stockport School student) and the National Theatre brought The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time to Stockport School on December 3rd and performed to 200 students.  It was an emotional occasion for Simon and us all to be performing the play in the school he came to. He was greeted by two of his very special ex-teachers Colin Mail and Mrs O'Brien (Miss Williams) and Paul Adeyefa, our ex-student who did interviews with Simon in the 2000s for his play Punk Rock and now has his own acting career (Good Omens, National Theatre Midsummer Night's Dream to name a few). The show was an astounding portrayal of a young man's thrilling journey of overcoming his obstacles and learning how to achieve his potential, solving many mysteries along the way.  The students were absolutely bowled over by the show with comments like "amazing, I enjoyed it so much!" being quoted on exit from the theatre.
The theatre itself was a surprising venue; as the show is set in the round, with the audience seated around the outside, a large space was required. It was originally planned for the Lake Street Gym, but the blackout material wouldn't stick to the windows, so a last minute change of venue was required! The PE staff kindly donated the sports hall for the day and it was transformed into an immersive space with high tech lighting, sound and setting for the students to enjoy. The show featured physically demanding performances from all the actors, as much physical theatre, change of pace and movement was used throughout. The ensemble were highly cohesive and their control was impeccable throughout. An absolute joy to watch. Special mention must go to the actor playing Christopher (Cayvan Coates) who spent 90 minutes on stage in the most intensely emotional moments that demanded such commitment and focus; what an incredible achievement.

Simon and the cast shared their time and knowledge with a post-show Q+A, which allowed many ideas to be considred. Our students were truly inspired by the arts after seeing this show and spending time in the company of the wonderful theatre-makers. Our final, extra treat was to have not one, but two masterclasses! Simon spoke with 17 year 10/11s and inspired them with powerful messages about his play Punk Rock (which 4 students are doing for GCSE), new approaches to characters, being true, understanding deeply and most of all the importance of being a good person! Cayvan Coates and the Tour Director Anna Marsland did a masterclass with two students who are going to play Christopher in their own GCSE Drama exam after Christmas. - what a wonderful experience for Nate and Frank!

Thank you so much Simon, all the National Theatre staff and to Stockport School staff and students. It was an unforgettable day and you have absolutely made your mark on our students' lives! Thank you for inspiring curiosity, imagination, empathy and human connection!
Mrs Stone.

An interview with Mrs Stone and BBC Radio can be heard here