Simon Stephens, the Stockport born 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, will be making a special visit to schools in Salford and Stockport on Friday 30 September.
The National Theatre’s extraordinary production of Curious Incident begins its second major tour of the UK and Ireland at The Lowry in Salford on 21 January 2017.
Simon is visiting Oasis Academy and UTC@MediaCityUK in Salford before heading to his former school, Stockport School, where he will be invited to rename the refurbished drama studio – The Simon Stephens Studio.
Simon plans to visit schools across the UK to meet young people and talk to them about the possibility of working in theatre.
Simon Stephens said: “I never met a writer when I was growing up.
“To me, writers were people that existed in different worlds or different times or different cultures.
“They didn’t come from state schools in Stockport.
“I think young people tend to achieve things in life that they dare feel entitled to.
“For me, class in this country is no longer necessarily defined by wealth but by that entitlement.
“It strikes me that I am in the unusual position of being able to alter that sense of entitlement for kids in state schools in the UK.
“There is a real danger of the gulf in that cultural entitlement between the richest people in this country and the rest growing.
“The exclusion of arts subjects from the government’s proposed English Baccalaureate will exacerbate this.
“If we’re not careful it won’t just be writers that belong in other worlds but theatre, art, classical music, dance will start to assume the mantle of something that belongs to kids from a background of a certain wealth.
“I want to go to schools throughout the country to meet young people and to talk to them about the possibility of working as a writer or an actor or a director.
“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.
“I am proud that the warm way in which The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time has been received throughout the country might allow me to reach young people who had never met a playwright, or anybody who made their living out of the arts.
“I also might be able to give them a few good tips for the English Literature GCSEs”.
Simon Stephens’ 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.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time will run at the lowry from Saturday 21 January to Saturday 4 February 2017.
For more information, visit: www.thelowry.com/event/the-curious-incident-of-the-dog-in-the-night-time