Sunderland Empire show has special helping of animal magic

Joshua Jenkins who plays Christopher Boone, with Toby the rat.

Joshua Jenkins who plays Christopher Boone, with Toby the rat.

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The pint-sized star of a celebrated play got whiskers twitching when he made his latest appearance.

Toby the rat appeared alongside leading man Joshua Jenkins, who plays Christopher, at the Sunderland Empire to mark the arrival of Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is at the Empire until Saturday.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is at the Empire until Saturday.

The show, which opened last night and runs until Saturday, is an adaptation of the best-selling novel by Mark Haddon.

A National Theatre production, it’s gone on to rack up numerous awards, including seven Olivier Awards, for its portrayal of Christopher, a 15-year-old who finds himself under suspicion when his neighbour’s dog is found dead.

Christopher has an extraordinary brain and is exceptional at maths, yet is ill-equipped to interpret everyday life.

The play, which is now in its sixth year in the West End, follows the autistic teenager’s frightening journey of discovery.

To complement the themes of the show, Sunderland Empire secured funding from Arts Council England to stage a series of autism-friendly events and learning projects, entitled Get Curious!

Hollie Coxon, creative learning manager at Sunderland Empire, said: “Get Curious! aims to offer opportunities for families with young people with autism spectrum disorder to sample new cultural experiences, in a more relaxed environment through a variety of art forms in different venues across Sunderland.”

Highlights include an Insight Session taking place tomorrow at the theatre at 11am, and a five-day family-learning programme running next week.

Schools, families and groups can apply for a Get Curious! pack which can be used to support the preparation for visits.

• Fancy seeing the show? Read our review HERE.
•For more information on Get Curious! Tel. 566 1056 or email sunderlandeducation@theambassadors.com