A Murder is Announced: Durham Student Theatre freshers’ play

Annabel Clancy

Hold onto your knitting bags and steady your teacups – the queen of cosy crime is coming to Durham, with a cast and creative team of freshers taking on Agatha Christie’s ‘A Murder Is Announced’.

A fresh take on DST

Coming to university for the first time, I knew I wanted to get involved with student theatre: nothing beats the friendships formed in the rehearsal room, the mayhem of technical rehearsals and the immense satisfaction of taking your bow. What I didn’t appreciate was just how vast the student theatre offering is here in Durham. Faced by 35 theatre companies on a rainy Wednesday afternoon at the Freshers’ Fair, I was, quite frankly, spoilt for choice. So, when the DST Freshers’ Play came to my attention, it seemed like the perfect entry point to this vibrant student theatre scene and a great chance to meet theatre-loving freshers.

Miss Marple!

What I didn’t anticipate, however, was landing the role of the one and only Miss Marple. To put it plainly, I am a huge Agatha Christie fan. I love how she takes the macabre and makes it cosy, creates intricate plots which are never predictable yet always addictive, and gives us the iconic characters of Poirot and Marple. Christie’s works are the perfect blend of escapism and wit, with quintessential settings and characters which are instantly familiar. Everyone has their village’s equivalent of Miss Marple – the curtain-twitching, tea-drinking, twinset-and-pearls-wearing old dear – and so getting to play this truly iconic character is a dream come true.

Post-covid theatre

It’s also exciting to get back to live theatre, both the performing and watching thereof; rather fittingly, my last trip to the theatre before the pandemic struck in 2020 was Agatha Christie’s ‘The Mousetrap’. I remember feeling utterly enthralled by the play’s action – reading a murder mystery is one thing, but seeing it brought to life is spellbinding, with every gesture, glance and prop taking on a whole new significance. Indeed, I think murder mysteries prompt both the actors and the audience to be even more attuned to the action onstage, and while conveying the intricacies of Christie’s storyline onstage will undoubtedly be a challenge, it’s one myself and the team are relishing.

Playing an icon!

Playing Marple brings its own set of challenges too – despite her kindly, elderly character, she is not one to be underestimated, thanks to her quick wit and perceptiveness. With her discreet contemplations and reverence for justice, she is a quietly powerful female character which I hope to convey onstage and emulate in my own later years!

Looking to the present, however, getting involved in Durham Student Theatre has been a brilliant way to start my university experience. Working alongside fellow freshers is truly inspiring – we’re all still growing into university life, yet for a few hours each week we can lay aside the cycle of assignments and lectures as we nurture a common passion. Although their onstage characters might suggest otherwise, the cast (and creative/production team) are such a warm-hearted bunch of talented people and a pleasure to collaborate with.

We invite you to sit back, relax and put your sleuthing skills to the test – will you deduce whodunnit?

About the show

An announcement in the local paper states the time and place when a murder is to occur in Miss Blacklock’s Victorian house. The victim is not one of the house’s several occupants, but an unexpected and unknown visitor. What follows is a classic Christie puzzle of mixed motives, concealed identities, a second death and a determined inspector grimly following the case’s twists and turns. Fortunately, Miss Marple is on hand to provide the solution – at some risk to herself – in a dramatic final confrontation.

Where to watch!

The show is on Thursday 2 – Saturday 4 November at 7pm at the Sir Thomas Allen Assembly Rooms Theatre.

Tickets are available here (Durham Student Theatre (savoysystems.co.uk)), £7 Standard, £6 Concession (Students) and £5 DST Members. There will be a 20 minute interval.

Annabel Clancy

I’m Annabel Clancy and I’m a first-year English Literature student at Grey College. This is my first production with DST, and I’m delighted to be playing the iconic role of Miss Marple.

Related Posts

Uppsala Summer School 2024

Durham train station. Destination: adventure. Our group, consisting of ten students from a range of Master’s programmes and our fearless leader Professor Robert Song, set

Read More »