English Literature / Drama GCSE: Creating Atmosphere

Through interviews with the director and designers, we learn how projection, lighting and sound come together to create atmosphere in the National Theatre production of 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time'.

Footage from the show is used to demonstrate how lighting creates different atmospheres, which the lighting designer explains change rapidly to reflect Christopher’s rapid thought processes.

The composer talks about using Christopher’s love of maths as a basis for creating an electronic-sounding score.

We see how lighting is used to reflect changes in Christopher’s mood, for example when he feels safe and when he doesn’t.

We see examples of when the technical elements came together to highlight the tense and crucial moments in the show.

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

Students could consider the design decisions made, and transfer the thought process to their own drama work.

If analysing the play as a piece of live theatre, students could look at how design elements contributed to the mood of different scenes.

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