Arts Centre’s Creative Learning Producer, Joshua Cowie on the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Associated Program
By Lois Maskiell
Arts Centre Melbourne will host its most extensive associated program to complement award-winning production, the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and its Australian premiere season opening in January 2018. Theatre Press caught up with Creative Learning Producer, Joshua Cowie to find out about this curious program and the range of workshops and talks it encompasses that will allow the public to get involved in this ground-breaking performance.
Based on the novel by Mark Haddon and adapted to stage by Simon Stephens, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is the winner of five Tony Awards and seven Oliver Awards. The play tells the story of Christopher Boone, a teenage boy with an astonishing mind. Christopher is outstanding at mathematics though ill-equipped to decipher everyday life. When he discovers the neighbour’s dog, Wellington has been speared by a garden fork, he embarks on a journey to uncover the truth. Using his mathematical abilities to solve the mystery of Wellington’s death, he uncovers much more than he had first anticipated.
Over the course of almost twenty years within Arts Centre’s Learning Team, Joshua Cowie has never organised such an expanded associated program. “Arts Centre has a large Arts Learning team committed to engaging and enriching the lives of Victorians in and through the performing arts,” explained Joshua. “When a world class show like Curious Incident plays in Melbourne it gives us great opportunity to do this in a way commercial theatre cannot,” he added.
The selection of emerging creatives workshops on offer are aimed at artists in the early stages of their careers and provide them with the occasion to work alongside industry professionals. These workshops, which have been immensely popular include Prime Composition with Curious Incident composer, Adrian Sutton. “We’re doing a two-day workshop with young composers in Melbourne, just sixteen of them,” said Joshua in an interview with SYN Media. “We’re going to both talk about composing for the stage in general and using mathematics as an impetuous to create new art,” he continued.
The Playwrights Incubator has Arts Centre, “bringing the actual playwright over from London, Simon Stephens,” noted Joshua, “so, he’s coming to do a three-day workshop with emerging under-thirties playwrights.” The Drama Workshop, lead by The National Theatre’s Resident Director has also been exceptionally popular and for those interested in movement, acclaimed physical theatre company, Frantic Assembly (UK) will lead the high-energy workshop, Movement Unconvered.
When asked which workshop excited him most, Joshua replied after a pause: “The Design Academy”. This program, “will see a small group of emerging creatives embark on a four-day workshop to reimagine the design of Curious Incident,” he noted. “Participants will work with Industry Professionals to produce new artwork inspired by the show in three design areas: sets, sound and video.” Not only will they have the opportunity to create new work in response to the show, they’ll have their work installed in the Playhouse foyer during the Curious Incident season. “To give emerging creatives the opportunity to not just work with established artists, but to be able to show their work to the public at ACM is really exciting,” commented Joshua.
Preshow talks and post-show forums are a fantastic way for the general public to learn about the show directly from its cast and creatives. In a range of sessions including the General Insight Talks, Adaptation Insight and Page to Stage talk with Simon Stephens more can be discovered about the production, how it was adapted to the stage and shaped into the acclaimed production it’s become.
The Relaxed Performance makes the production accessible to those who mightn’t usually attend theatre. It includes, “a whole dedicated main-stage performance of the show where the house lights are left on at fifty percent (and) the auditorium doors are open,” explained Joshua in an interview with SYN Media.
This all-encompassing Associated Program that complements the Australian premiere of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time has something to pique everybody’s interest. Its realisation is not only thanks to ACM’s great relationship with the UK’s National Theatre and MTC, but is also a result of the spectacular nature of the show. As Joshua remarked: “Curious Incident has such great themes to explore – difference, perspective, and incredible staging that will wow Melbourne audiences.”
For tickets and more information:
To listen to Joshua Cowie’s interview on SYN Media: