English Literature / Drama GCSE: Christopher and Siobhan

A look at the relationship between the characters of Christopher Boone and his teacher, Siobhan, played by Niamh Cusack in the National Theatre’s production of 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time'.

The different sides of Siobhan’s character are explored, how she sometimes interacts with Christopher and sometimes becomes the narrator by reading out extracts from Christopher’s book.

Niamh Cusack explains that at times, Siobhan ‘becomes’ Christopher, and can be seen as his soul and his imagination.

The challenges for the actor playing this multi-faceted character are explored.

This short film is from the BBC series, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: From Page to Stage, made in collaboration with the National Theatre.

It explores how Mark Haddon’s much-loved novel became a multi-award-winning theatre production.

Interviews with the playwright, director and cast and footage from both rehearsal and performance reveal the process of bringing the story alive on stage.

Teacher Notes

When studying the novel or play as a set text, students could use this short film to explore the relationship between Christopher and Siobhan and to analyse the character of Siobhan.

Students could be encouraged to explore the key relationships in the text when studying the play as a scripted piece.

If the play is being performed, this could be used to gain insight into how to portray the relationship between Christopher and Siobhan.

When analysing the play as a piece of live theatre, students could analyse the scenes between Christopher and Siobhan and the performance of the actor playing Siobhan, examining the different aspects of Siobhan's character.

This could also be used as a talking point to encourage a wider understanding of narration in the study of theatre.

Curriculum Notes

This short film is suitable for teaching GCSE English literature and drama in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and National 5 in Scotland.

More from The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: From Page to Stage

Creating Atmosphere
Creating Comedy and Tension
Design Elements
Ensemble Acting
Adapting a Novel for Theatre
What is Physical Theatre?
Christopher and his Dad
Christopher and his Mum
Who is Christopher Boone?