The Curious Incident relaxes in Southampton

The National Theatre’s multi award-winning production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, adapted from Mark Haddon’s best-selling book, is making its Southampton debut at the Mayflower Theatre on 23 June, with a relaxed performance on 2 July at 2pm.

The relaxed performance, which is presented in association with the National Autistic Society (NAS), is designed for those who may enjoy a less formal environment, in particular people with autism, sensory or communication disorders or learning disabilities.

Audience members will be free to move about during the performance, and there will be a relaxed attitude to noise and talking. The idea is to provide a more supportive environment for disabled people and their families, many of whom may otherwise feel a trip to the theatre would be out of the question.

There have been two previous relaxed performances for Curious Incident – one at the National’s Cottlesloe Theatre and one in the West End. Most recently there was a relaxed performance of the National’s award winning production of War Horse, also in association with the National Autistic Society.

Adapting the novel for stage

Playwright, Simon Stephens, who adapted Haddon’s novel for the stage, said: “The adaptation was a really joyful experience.The key to it was the relationship between Christopher and his teacher. Although it’s not that central in the novel, what struck me was that everybody in life has a favourite teacher.

“Even people who hated school, even people who found school a miserable experience, had one teacher who they loved more than others and thought got them in a way that other teachers didn’t. I knew that if I could get that relationship right, then we could create an evening in the theatre that people could recognize themselves in.”

Ros Hayes, Head of Access at the National Theatre, said: “We are keen to share our plays with a wider audience, and provide an opportunity for families to enjoy a visit to the theatre together. We want to create a welcoming, stress-free environment for people.”

The staff and cast of Curious Incident have all received autism awareness training, and NAS volunteers will be on hand to help audience members in need of support. A visual story, outlining what to expect, has also been developed to help prepare the audience for their visit.

Relaxed performance tickets are on sale now, price £15.00 each. Please call the Box Office on 02380 711811 for more info or to book. Age recommendation 11+