Hartlepool Sixth Form College

Students gain insight into Oscar Wilde novel through theatre visit

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Hartlepool Sixth Form English Literature students visited the Darlington Hippodrome theatre to see a dramatised version of one of their examination novels – Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’.

The Y13 English Literature students will be examined on the text in the summer, therefore the visit was arrange to help the students revise their ideas on aspects such as characterisation. Y12 students on the other hand, have just begun to read the novel, therefore the play gave them an insight into the novel and helped with their understanding of the narrative.

Lindsey Tennant-Williams, Hartlepool Sixth Form Lecturer in English Literature said: “Though the original text of ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ is a novel, - one that my Y13s will be examined on this coming June! - I thought that watching a dramatised version would help our students revise and perhaps re-consider their views on aspects such as Wilde’s characterisation and setting.

Our students made really academic comments during the interval and after the performance, in particular regarding Jonathan Wrather’s performance of Lord Henry Wooton. I even overheard some of them chatting to other audience members about their views on why Sibyl’s character should have been portrayed in a different way! Watching the play made it clear how our students have already engaged with the text and that they are well able to argue their enlightening viewpoints! I was impressed and proud of them.”

Amber Smith, Hartlepool Sixth Form A2 English Literature added: “Watching a dramatisation of the novel helped me to understand and visualise more the ways in which the key characters of ‘Dorian Gray’ interact with each other. I found myself thinking that the extra female characters the theatre group substituted for James Vane and Alan Campbell undermined the potentially allegorical point of the text being male dominated and this led to a discussion about Wilde’s homosexuality and the reasons he made most of his characters male. We enjoyed arguing why we were right!”

Andrew Rimmer, FutureMe Coordinator continued: “The FutureMe team were happy to be able to support travel arrangements for students to go and experience Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray at the theatre. We hope they gained significant insight into the text from watching the performance.”

If you are interested in studying English Literature at Hartlepool Sixth Form, click here to find out more and apply online!