The Curiosity Index  

Les Enfants Terribles is a theatre company founded by Oliver Lansley in 2002 and named after Jean Cocteau’s famous novel.  Now celebrating its 20th birthday and having played worldwide from Edinburgh to Shanghai, the company has always aimed to be experimental, playful, physical and “different” as well as immersive. No one who saw (took part in?) Alice’s Adventures in the Underground at London’s atmospheric Vaults venue in 2015 will forget sitting, literally immersed, at that long table while the characters danced and pranced among the teacups on top of it before we moved on to the next meeting and the next room. That show went to China in 2018 for a two-year run.

It’s a distinctive way of working. “We love to push the boundaries of what it means to put on a show” declares the website. And now, Les Enfant Terribles is sharing information about what they do and how they do it via a digital hub. “The last few years have really shown us how powerful online resources can be and how much they can enhance live theatrical work – particularly from an access point of view” says Oliver.

And the good news is that, because it’s funded by the Arts Council, The Curiosity Index is completely free for students and teachers. I am neither but I’ve just registered to test it out (I ticked “public” so it’s actually available to anyone who’s interested) and found colourful, easy to operate access to over 300 resources in one place; including videos, images, sketches, mood boards, interviews, marketing materials and script excerpts.

Moreover, the company is promising monthly updates with new interviews, lesson plans and educational videos along with exclusive access to assets from all their new shows as they develop. Oliver says: “We want to create a fountain of inspiration that is accessible to absolutely everyone. A way of exploring and examining every element of the creative process as well as bringing together 20 years of Les Enfants Terribles history into one place.”

He and his colleagues certainly seem to have done that. What I really liked was the filters and the way the information is arranged. You can filter by show, type of resource, discipline, key stage or assessment outcome.

For example, you can see sketches for the March Hare’s costume and a helpful box tells you which Key Stages this is likely to be relevant to. And there are Education Resource Packs for GCSE drama students on shows such as The Trench. Other featured shows include Dinner at the Twits and United Queendom and there are education videos with Les Enfant Terribles directors, writers and designers.

All the content is curriculum-focused and classroom-friendly, covering a variety of topics including acting, set design, costume and puppetry. You can ‘favourite’ useful resources to create a hub of information on your profile so that you can return to it. The new site also includes teacher-created lesson plans and teaching ideas which might help to lighten the workload of teachers.

Les Enfants Terribles has worked with the education sector for a long time and it runs CPD for teachers as well as workshops for students. Anyone signing up as a Curiosity Index member is offered discounts on these.

The Curiosity Index launches alongside the company’s new stage show, The House with Chicken Legs. So the resources include making-of content from the show, including mood boards, interviews with the creatives, script extracts and more.

Theatre making has become ever more collaborative over the years, with the audience as active participants as opposed to passive receivers, and the work of Les Enfant Terribles illustrates that shift very clearly. “We have always seen the theatre we make as a shared experience” Oliver says. “And The Curiosity Index allows us to deepen that conversation in a really exciting and meaningful way.”

Find out more and unlock all the free resources on The Curiosity Index here: