For the first time, the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch has partnered with one of London’s prestigious drama schools, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama to produce Dennis Kelly’s modern day black comedy DNA (7 – 14 Feb). The production, which is a set text on the GCSE English Literature and Drama curriculum, has attracted audiences of more than 30 schools and colleges, with some students travelling as a far as Dorset, West Yorkshire and Lancashire to see this unique collaboration at the Hornchurch Theatre.
DNA was first performed at the National Theatre in 2007 and is tailored specifically for young audiences. It tells the explosive story about a group of teenagers who do something really bad, panic and then try to cover it up.
DNA is directed by the Queen’s Theatre’s Artistic Director, Douglas Rintoul (Abigail’s Party, Priscilla Queen of the Desert), with designer Natalie Jackson, who is a graduate from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, lighting designer Stephen Pemble and sound designer Jack Baxter.
Speaking about the collaboration Douglas Rintoul said, ‘I’ve directed at Central in a freelance capacity, that’s where the contact has come from. I love working with students because they are so used to working together after three years together in college that they have a real bond – almost a language of their own. And that means that you can often go much further with them than is possible with a group of professionals convened for just three or four weeks rehearsal time who don’t initially know each other.’
The production will be performed by eleven final year students from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama on the BA (Hons) Acting Collaborative and Devised Theatre Course led by Catherine Alexander. The cast includes Joseph Aylward, Brett Curtis, Mark Foy, Linn Johansson, Marko Kovak, Colette McNulty, Mae Munuo, William Pyke, Sidsel Rostrup, Sam Rhodes and Hughie Stanley.
Douglas Rintoul is also very keen to get local teenagers into the Theatre to see young actors who are still in training. ‘In this area – the outer boroughs of Havering, Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge and out into Essex – there is quite a sense that drama school is out of reach. I think DNA will help to demonstrate that it isn’t – and there’s a lot of diversity in this C&D group which will reinforce the message.’
DNA runs at the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch from 7 – 14 February and under 26s can see the show for just £8, with standard tickets £14 (plus 65p QNew Transformation fee per ticket).