English Literature / Drama GCSE: Design Elements

A look at how the highly stylised set design of the National Theatre’s production of 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time' was created, featuring interviews with the director and designers.

The director explains the decision to have the set represent Christopher’s mind, meaning it had to be imaginative, creative and non-naturalistic.

As the story jumps back and forth, sets had to be able to be changed in an instant.

The designer explains how she used A-level maths papers as an inspiration for the mathematical diagrams projected onto the floor, and the imagery of a police incident room to reflect Christopher’s idea that he is solving a murder mystery.

The lighting designer talks about the decision not to use colour or warmth, as Christopher’s mind is white and cool. We see the model box of the set and hear how it is used in the design process.

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 set design decisions made, and transfer the thought process to their own drama work.

If analysing the play as a piece of live theatre, your students could look at how design elements contribute to the storytelling.

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
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?