Playwright gives school students an insight into the theatre world

Simon Stephens visiting youngsters at Kingsdown School in Swindon

CURIOUS secondary school students found out there was more to working in theatres than selling tickets and ice creams.

Simon Stephens, the playwright and former teacher who won Olivier and Tony awards for his adaptation of Mark Haddon’s novel, The Curious Incident Of The Dog in the Night-Time, visited Swindon’s Kingsdown School, Oxford Spires Academy and The Cotswold School in Bourton-on-the-Water on Friday May 5 to talk with them about the possibilities of working in the theatre industry.

It was part of a special visit to the area ahead of the National Theatre’s extraordinary production of Curious Incident Of The Dog in the Night-Time returning to the New Theatre Oxford for a one week run from Monday May 22 – Saturday May 27.

The groups of students, who ranged from year 7 to 11, spent an hour quizzing Simon in everything from how difficult it was to adapt a novel and where he gets his ideas from to what he would do if he wasn’t a writer and what type of sandwich he would be.

Simon’s adaptation of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time was added to the AQA GCSE in English literature set texts for English schools in 2014, making it the only modern play currently performing in the West End to be part of the AQA Post-1914 drama and prose section.

Simon said he had never met a writer growing up, and wanted to give youngsters across the country the opportunity to speak to them about the possibilities of working as a writer, actor or director, and to allow them to ask questions about the industry.

“I want young people to know that a career in the theatre or in the performing arts is not something that happens to other people,” he said.