Gothic horror: Year 9 feel the fear

Year 9 boys felt the thrill of fear when they visited the West End production of a Gothic ghost story.

Forty-three pupils made the journey to the Fortune Theatre to see The Woman in Black, the play dubbed ‘the most terrifying live theatre experience in the world’.

English teacher Lucy Riseborough, who organised the visit, said: “Whilst the boys like to pretend the play was ‘not that scary’, the screams that erupted from our section of the audience told a rather different story!”

With the boys having studied Gothic stories during the first half of the Summer Term, a trip to see one of the most famous examples of the genre served to round off the topic.

""The Woman in Black has been running for almost 30 years, making it one of the longest-running plays in London. The script is adapted from Susan Hills’ 1983 novella, which is written in the style of a traditional Gothic novel.  It shows the elderly Arthur Kipps telling a real-life ghost story to a young actor, who turns it into a drama – a play within a play.

The actor plays Kipps, whilst Kipps himself plays all the other characters, creating a sparse cast of only three actors, which, Miss Riseborough reports, generates a disturbingly solitary atmosphere.

In the story, Kipps, a solicitor in the remote town of Crythin Gifford, has to visit a mysterious house in the marshes to tie up a dead woman's affairs – discovering too late why the villagers recoil from the residence.

“Using psychological mind tricks, the play lures you into a false sense of security before unleashing the sheer terror of the ‘woman with the wasted face’: the woman in black,” said Miss Riseborough. “Its spine-chilling, blood-curdling, harrowing nature penetrates your very bones and is the stuff of your most insidious nightmares.”