news-category: Performing Arts

Gardner-Webb’s Department of Theatre Arts Produces Tony Award-Winning Play

theatre lights

‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ set for Oct. 6-8 in Dover Theatre

By Sierra Talbert, ’24, Intern for University Communications

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Gardner-Webb University’s Department of Theatre Arts presents “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” in Dover Theatre on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 6-7, at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday, Oct. 8, at 2:30 p.m. Tickets for the play can be purchased electronically here.

The Tony award-winning play is based on the novel by Mark Haddon and adapted by Simon Stephens. The story focuses on 15-year-old Christopher, who is exceptional at mathematics but has high-functioning autism and difficulty interpreting everyday life. He is accused of killing his neighbor’s dog, so he must solve the mystery. His detective work, which is prohibited by his father, takes him on a thrilling journey that upturns his world.

Dr. Christopher Nelson, professor and chair of the Department of Theatre Arts and the play’s director, is curious to see how the audience will react to the storyline. He hopes they follow along and develop a sense of care for Christopher throughout his journey as he solves the mystery.

Nelson was encouraged by a friend to see the play when it was on Broadway. “The young man who played it was extraordinary; the cast was really good, the scenic design was amazing … it was really, really, really good,” he praised.

Nelson immediately added “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” to his bucket list of play ideas for GWU and decided to check it off this semester. After producing simple shows last academic year, he is ready for the challenge this play brings him and the cast members. He is excited to add more tech, visuals, and larger sets to the show and truly bring it to life for the audience.

Freshman cast member, Justin Roan, plays five roles during the production. “It has a very captivating story, because there are a lot of twists in the story,” Roan said. “Some twists you’ll see coming and some you won’t.”

Nelson said production plans are in place for two shows in the 2024 Spring semester.

“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” Cast List

Christopher – Shawn Hougas

Siobhan – Emily Hopson

Ed – Marshall Bragdon-Townsend

Judy – Elie Brinson

Mrs. Alexander/Posh Woman/Voice Six – Roman Cotty

Mrs. Shears/Mrs. Gascoyne/Voice One/Woman on Train/Woman on Heath/Shopkeeper – Savannah Snider

Roger (Mr. Shears)/Duty Sergeant/Voice Two/Mr. Wise/Man Behind Counter/Drunk One – Cyrus Zarif

Policeman 1/Mr. Thompson/Voice Three/Drunk Two/Man with Socks/London Policeman – Justin Roan

No. 40/Voice Five/Lady in Street/Information/Punk Girl – Eva Sliker

Reverend Peters/Uncle Terry/Voice Four/Station Policeman/Station Guard – Jacob White

Writer Sierra Talbert is a communications major with a concentration in public relations.

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at

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