The Dog in the Night-Time returns to Sunderland

Published: 3 March 2020
Reporter: Peter Lathan

The National Theatre production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is coming back to Sunderland Empire this year after its first visit in August 2015 when it attracted large audiences to a theatre notorious for being “difficult” for plays.

It returns to Sunderland as the second stop on a third UK and Ireland tour from 6 to 10 October 2020, after opening at The Lowry in Salford from 18 September to 3 October, before going on to a further 11 venues, including 7 weeks in London over Christmas.

The play, which has been seen by more than five million people worldwide, including two UK tours, two West End runs, a Broadway transfer, tours to the Netherlands, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Australia and 30 cities across the USA, is the winner of seven Olivier Awards including Best New Play, Best Director, Best Design, Best Lighting Design and Best Sound Design and, following its New York première in September 2014, became the longest-running play on Broadway in over a decade, winning five Tony Awards including Best Play, six Drama Desk Awards including Outstanding Play, five Outer Critics Circle Awards including Outstanding New Broadway Play and the Drama League Award for Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Play.

Curious Incident is adapted by Simon Stephens from the novel by Mark Haddon and directed by Olivier and Tony Award-winner Marianne Elliott (War Horse, Angels in America, Company).

The play tells the story of Christopher John Francis Boone, who is fifteen years old. He stands besides Mrs Shears’s dead dog, which 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.

The production visits Sunderland as part of Theatre Nation Partnerships, a multi-year collaboration between the National Theatre and six partner organisations with the aim to broaden and grow local audiences for drama in England through touring, working with schools, and creating theatre with local communities. Drawing on combined expertise, resources and each partner’s deep community links, the project has engaged with over 100,000 people since 2017.

As part of TNP, Curious Incident recently completed a second schools tour, which saw a specially staged in-the-round 90-minute version play to 25,000 students in more than 100 schools in London and the NT’s Theatre Nation Partnership areas of Doncaster, Greater Manchester, Hornchurch, Sunderland, Wakefield and Wolverhampton.